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Labor signals ICAC retreat as Malinauskas allocates shadow cabinet portfolios

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UPDATED | New Labor leader Peter Malinauskas has signalled a likely retreat on his party’s long-held opposition to open ICAC hearings, as the Marshall Government moves to fast-track new transparency laws.

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Independent Commissioner Against Corruption Bruce Lander locked horns with the former Labor Government over his repeated request to be able to hold certain maladministration inquiries in open hearings, a notion to which former Premier Jay Weatherill took exception.

His successor Steven Marshall vowed to introduce changes to the ICAC Act if elected, and indicated yesterday amendments would be tabled when parliament resumes next month.

Malinauskas, who today unveiled portfolio allocations for his new frontbench, said he had “reached out to Commissioner Lander’s office” to arrange a meeting.

“I want to hear from Commissioner Lander directly about why he has his views around the need for legislative change in this area,” he said.

“That’s because we’re open minded to reviewing our position on this particular issue.”

The new Labor leader, who was formally endorsed by the ALP caucus yesterday, said there remained “competing issues” around the right to privacy, but said he would “conduct a through analysis on the merit [of the changes] and review our position.”

It’s likely to be a moot point, with the Liberals set to command crossbench support in the Upper House for the changes. SA Best also campaigned on greater transparency for ICAC hearings and its two Legislative Councillors recommitted themselves to backing any amendments.

Meanwhile, former transport and infrastructure minister Stephen Mullighan will take on the key treasury role in the Labor Opposition’s frontbench.

As part of the new line-up announced today, former treasurer Tom Koutsantonis retains the mining and energy portfolios and also picks up a new job as spokesman for government accountability – a role that will see him lock horns with the new Liberal administration. Koutsantonis will also oversee the Transport and Infrastructure portfolios that he briefly held as a minister before the 2014 election, and will take on parliamentary strategy as leader of Opposition business in the House of Assembly.

Malinauskas has given himself the defence and space portfolios, mirroring some of new Marshall’s responsibilities.

Deputy Leader Susan Close keeps the education portfolio she held in government but picks up environment and water.

Mullighan, a former chief of staff to Labor treasurer Kevin Foley, won’t face his opposite number in Parliament – Treasurer Rob Lucas is in the upper house.

Malinauskas told reporters his new frontbench was a blend of “fresh eyes but also a retention of experience and knowledge”.

“I think we’ve got a genuine mix between experience and renewal that will serve the shadow cabinet well both now and into the future,” he said.

He denied Koutsantonis would be disgruntled at losing the key Treasury role, insisting “we’re all united behind the task” and noting that the MP, who entered parliament in 1997, was now the “father of the house” – state parliament’s equal longest-serving member (along with now-independent former colleague Frances Bedford).

“I’ve been relying on Tom for sound advice for a long period of time [and] the two biggest losers out of this reshuffle are Stephan Knoll and Dan van Holst Pellekaan, because now they’ll have Tom breathing down their necks and holding them to account.”

Shadow Cabinet portfolios

Peter Malinauskas

Leader

Defence and Space Industries

Susan Close

Deputy Leader

Education

Environment and Water

Kyam Maher

Leader in the Legislative Council

Attorney-General

Industrial Relations and Public Sector

Aboriginal Affairs

Tom Koutsantonis

Leader of Opposition Business (House of Assembly)

Transport and Infrastructure

Mining and Energy

Employment

Government Accountability

Stephen Mullighan

Treasury

Zoe Bettison

Trade, Tourism and Investment

Chris Picton

Health and Wellbeing

Tony Piccolo

Planning and Local Government

Housing and Urban Development

Veterans’ Affairs

Katrine Hildyard

Recreation, Sport and Racing

Multicultural Affairs

The Status of Women

Lee Odenwalder

Police, Emergency Services and Correctional Services

Eddie Hughes

Primary Industries and Regional Development

Nat Cook

Human Services

Clare Scriven

Deputy Leader of Opposition Business (Legislative Council)

Industry and Skills

Forestry

Jayne Stinson

Child Protection

The Arts

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