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Key roles for SA MPs in new Labor cabinet


Four South Australian MPs and a record number of women feature in Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s first cabinet, which will be sworn in at Government House today.

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The prime minister’s 30-member frontbench has 13 women appointed to a ministerial role and 10 of them in the cabinet.

South Australian MPs Mark Butler, Amanda Rishworth and senator Don Farrell will join Penny Wong on the frontbench, with the 13-member inner ministry populated by four South Australian representatives.

Butler was given the important health and aged care portfolio while Rishworth, the member for the southern suburbs seat of Kingston, was promoted from early childhood education to social services – a portfolio previously held by Liberal South Australian Senator Anne Ruston.

Farrell has been promoted to deputy senate leader after former Labor frontbencher Kristina Keneally vacated the role in an unsuccessful attempt to parachute into a Lower House seat.

The powerful right faction powerbroker from South Australia will also take on the trade and tourism portfolios as well as special minister of state.

Wong, who is leader in the senate, was sworn in as Minister for Foreign Affairs last week.

Albanese unveiled his cabinet on Tuesday evening, with a balance of new faces and MPs who had served in the previous Labor government.

“This is the largest number of women who have ever served in an Australian cabinet,” he said.

“We have an overflow of talent on our side of the parliament … it’s the most experienced incoming Labor government in our history since federation.”

The swearing in coincides with Labor securing 77 seats in the House of Representatives, after the marginal seat of Gilmore on the NSW south coast was called for incumbent Fiona Phillips.

While some MPs retained their portfolios from when Labor was in opposition, there was a shakeup in some key areas.

Tanya Plibersek has moved from the education portfolio to being the new environment and water minister, while education will now be held by Jason Clare.

The right faction’s Clare O’Neil will take on home affairs, while deputy prime minister Richard Marles is also the new defence minister.

Tony Burke is the minister for employment and the arts, while Chris Bowen will become climate change and energy minister.

Linda Burney will be just the second First Nations person to be appointed Indigenous Australians minister.

She will work alongside Pat Dodson, who was named a special envoy for reconciliation and implementing the Uluru Statement from the Heart.

New faces to the frontbench include Anika Wells in aged care and sport, Anne Aly in early childhood and youth, and Kristy McBain in regional development, local government and territories.

-With AAP

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