Deputy Leader of the Australian Labor Party Richard Marles will become the Shadow Minister for Small Business as part of a major reshuffle that also includes changes in other key areas of industry, resources, climate and health.
Marles will take on a new ‘super portfolio’ of national reconstruction, employment, skills and small business, which will be focused on the nation’s post-COVID-19 economic recovery in what is expected to be an election year. He will also be the Labor spokesperson for the science portfolio.
The federal member for Corio is taking over the small business portfolio from Brendan O’Connor, who was previously the shadow minister for small and family business, employment and industry and science.
O’Connor will now be the Shadow Minister for Defence, a portfolio previously held by Marles.
Meanwhile, Ed Husic, a staunch supporter of the Aussie tech sector, will become the Shadow Minister for Industry and Innovating, after rejoining the Labor frontbench in November when he took on the agriculture and resources portfolio.
Madeleine King will become Labor’s Spokesperson for Trade and Resources, while Chris Bowen will move to the climate portfolio, swapping with Mark Butler who moves into health.
Commenting on his new role on Twitter, Marles said Labor is focused on Australia’s recovery from the pandemic, and the party’s plan has “job creation and security at the heart”.
“Part of the formula of jobs and job creation includes making things here and part of that is going to include science,” he said.
“The easy choice to make is to not make many changes and just keep things as they are,” he said.
“I’m absolutely determined and events this year have reinforced my view that I will do the right thing, not necessarily the easy thing.”