DESPITE rumours of an elevation to a prominent ministry in Kevin Rudd’s new-look cabinet, Member for Eden-Monaro Mike Kelly has kept his existing portfolio at his own insistence.
Currently Minister for Defence Materiel, it was rumoured Dr Kelly would be given either the portfolio of Agriculture or Defence.
However, it was announced yesterday that Joel Fitzgibbon would take over Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry from Joe Ludwig and Stephen Smith would stay on as Minister for Defence until his retirement from politics at the federal election.
Dr Kelly claims he remained in his current portfolio at his insistence.
“Yes, there was talk of promotions to other ministries, but I believe it’s vital I stay with the Defence Materiel portfolio,” he said.
“I’m about to deliver an important defence industry policy statement which will revitalise the sector and I want to see that through.”
Dr Kelly declined to name which ministries he had been offered.
A cabinet reshuffle was brought about after several prominent front benchers quit when Mr Rudd defeated Julia Gillard in a leadership spill last Wednesday.
Dr Kelly said he was “delighted” at the new look ministry, which features Anthony Albanese as Deputy Prime Minister and Chris Bowen as Treasurer, as well as the promotion into cabinet of several women.
“It’s a fantastic injection of new blood and talent, and this will invigorate the cabinet as we head towards the election,” he said.
“The Labor government has faced enormous challenges over the past six years, including the global financial crisis, reforms to health, education and superannuation, carbon policy, NBN and NDIS to name a few.
“It’s exhausting work and it’s great that others can now offer their talents.
“I’m also delighted that so many strong, capable and intelligent women have been elevated to portfolios.
“It’s a strong team that is ready to tackle the challenges ahead and I think Mr Rudd has struck the right balance.”
Dr Kelly said the new cabinet was ready to take on the Liberal Party in the upcoming election.
“Who are these shadow ministers?
“Most people couldn’t name the Opposition’s shadow ministers because they have no policies beyond negative politics.
“The same can be said for [Eden-Monaro candidate] Peter Hendy, he’s a no policy zone.
“I challenge him to start naming policies and telling the people of Eden-Monaro how he intends to bring growth to the region,” Dr Kelly said.
Member for Eden-Monaro Mike Kelly says he is happy to continue in his role as Minister for Defence Materiel. Photo: Melissa Adams.
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