The reshuffle: same deck, different order

One of the more conservative aspects of the incumbant conservative Howard government is the reluctance to reward young ambition and penalise poor performance within the Ministerial team. The latest Howard reshuffle was the sort of things that should have happened not long after the last election, rather than just a few months out from the next one. The reshuffle saw Senator Ian Campbell take over the Environment portfolio from Kemp, Helen Coonan take over from deadwood Williams in the Communications portfolio, and, courtesy of the ABC website, the other changes are...

Mal Brough becomes Minister for Revenue and Assistant Treasurer, replacing Senator Noonan; (That'd be Coonan, aunty.)
Jim Lloyd takes over as Minister for Local Government, Territories and Roads, replacing Senator Campbell;
Fran Bailey is named Minister for Employment Services and Minister Assisting the Minister for Defence;
Teresa Gambaro becomes parliamentary secretary to the Minister for Defence;
Bruce Billson is the new parliamentary secretary to the Minister for Foreign Affairs and;
Kerry Bartlett become chief Government whip.

There are a couple of talented performers amongst the group being promoted, although there are some noticable absenses. Some solid Victorian MPs such as Greg Hunt and Petro Georgiou deserve a minsterial gurnsey, and the absense of either Senators George Brandis or Brett Mason suggest that Howard is still smarting over those Senators alignment with the Costello camp. And Dana Vaile is still a minister?? Howard does stay brave and true.

The Latham line in this election will be that the Howard government is tired, bored and has run out of ideas. Howard had a chance to change that perception by moving some young turks to the front bench, but instead his changes were too little, too risk-averse, and too late. Too bad.


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