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Deputy sidelined in Labor reshuffle


Labor’s Deputy Leader Susan Close has stepped away from a key portfolio, while Opposition Leader Peter Malinauskas today appointed himself Shadow Minister for Jobs as his party gears up to make employment its headline issue in the lead-up to the 2022 state election.

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Labor yesterday elevated first-term MPs Andrea Michaels and Blair Boyer to the shadow ministry, with a reshuffle of portfolios unveiled this morning.

Michaels, whose elevation brings the shadow cabinet’s quota of women to 50 per cent for the first time, will take over as spokeswoman for Small and Family Business, and also has responsibility for Housing and Urban Development and Consumer and Business Affairs.

Left-faction MP Boyer steps into the senior role of Education, which has been vacated by Deputy Leader Susan Close in a surprise move.

Close instead takes on Climate Change, Industry and Higher Education, while retaining the portfolios of Environment and Water.

Close said the decision to relinquish Education – a key plank of Labor’s policy platform and a looming political focus as the Marshall Government transitions Year 7 into high school – was her own.

She said her new responsibilities “are all about South Australia’s high-value, low-carbon economic future”. 

“The pandemic has put a particular lens on the challenges facing industry [and] I’d like to thank the Leader for agreeing to my suggestion that I be able to concentrate wholly on the future of the economy, which must be high value and low carbon,” she said.

But the key allocation could be the one Malinauskas gave himself – the new role of “Shadow Minister for Jobs”, the creation of which he says will take on new importance as the SA economy recovers from the COVID crisis.

 “Put simply, this is the most important issue for the future of our state,” he said in a statement.

He said the decision of outgoing frontbenchers Tony Piccolo and Eddie Hughes to step down “has presented an opportunity to refresh our line-up as we gear up for the next 18 months”.

In other changes, Katrine Hildyard will take on responsibility for Child Protection, as well as Women and the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence, while Jayne Stinson will be the new Shadow Minister for Planning, Local Government and Multicultural Affairs.

 South-east-based Clare Scriven picks up Primary Industries and Regional Development.

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