Low-profile Queensland MP Steven Ciobo will be the new Opposition small business, service economy and tourism spokesman, Liberal leader Brendan Nelson announced today.
Relatively inexperienced, it will be Ciobo’s first stint on the frontbenches following his election in 2001. His website says he grew up “in North Queensland where his family worked hard running a small business dependant on the tourism industry” and that “his wife started a small business on the Gold Coast”.
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Although Ciobo will not occupy a cabinet position, overarching responsibility for business issues will be taken by Liberal deputy leader Julie Bishop, who will be shadow minister for employment, business and workplace relations.
“The portfolio reflects the fact that business will need a strong voice in this Parliament – business and the private sector are the job and work creators, and business needs a voice in this Parliament,” Bishop says.
Along with Malcolm Turnbull, whose position as shadow treasurer has already been announced, Nelson said that Bruce Bilson will take broadband, communication and the digital economy, Andrew Robb foreign affairs, Joe Hockey health, and former industry minister Ian Macfarlane gets trade – possibly signalling the need for a shift in focus away from agriculture to other kinds of exports.
Two relative newcomers to Parliament, Tony Smith and Greg Hunt, have been given big responsibilities with the education, apprenticeships and training, and climate change, environment and water respectively.