Shorten gives science, small business personal priority

Bill Shorten has finalised his frontbench. AAP/Lukas Coch

Opposition leader Bill Shorten will take specific responsibility for science and small business and Stephen Conroy becomes spokesman for defence in Labor’s new frontbench lineup.

Announcing his allocation of portfolios today Shorten said that Labor “should be strong advocates for science”, and that small and family businesses were “the backbone of many communities of Australia”.

The communication area, which in government was held by Conroy - who is now the opposition’s deputy in the Senate - goes to Jason Clare, one of Labor’s strong performers.

Kim Carr, from the Victorian left, has held on to higher education, research, innovation and industry.

As expected, deputy leader Tanya Plibersek takes foreign affairs and Chris Bowen, the former treasurer, becomes shadow treasurer.

Factional players have done well including the right’s Don Farrell, due to leave the Senate mid-next year, who becomes shadow minister for the 2015 centenary of ANZAC.

Anthony Albanese, who narrowly lost the leadership to Shorten, retains his infrastructure and transport area. But Albanese, the former leader of the house, will not become manager of opposition business in the new parliament. That job will be done by Tony Burke, who will be finance spokesman.

Penny Wong, Labor leader in the Senate, leaves finance to shadow trade and investment minister. Andrew Leigh, a Harvard-trained economist, becomes shadow assistant treasurer.

Of the up and comers, Ed Husic, who missed out on the shadow ministry, becomes shadow parliamentary secretary to Bowen. New MP Jim Chalmers, a former chief of staff to then-treasurer Wayne Swan, will be shadow parliamentary secretary to both Shorten and Wong.

Education goes to Kate Ellis; health to Catherine King; workplace relations to Brendan O'Connor, and Richard Marles gets the difficult immigration job.

While caucus elected the shadow ministers and Shorten allocated portfolios, he chose the shadow parliamentary secretaries. Former minister Warren Snowdon, dropped by the left in the frontbench election earlier this week, has been made shadow parliamentary secretary for indigenous affairs, northern Australia and external territories.

Shadow Ministry List:

Bill Shorten: Leader of the Opposition

Tanya Plibersek: Deputy Leader of the Opposition & Foreign Affairs

Penny Wong: Leader of Opposition in Senate & Trade and Investment

Stephen Conroy: Deputy Leader of Opposition in Senate & Defence

Anthony Albanese: Infrastructure and Transport & Tourism

Chris Bowen: Shadow Treasurer

Tony Burke: Finance

Mark Butler: Environment, Climate Change and Water

Kim Carr: Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Industry

Jason Clare: Communications

Mark Dreyfus: Shadow Attorney General & Arts

Kate Ellis: Education and Early Childhood

Joel Fitzgibbon: Agriculture

Gary Gray: Resources & Northern Australia & Special Minister of State

Catherine King: Health

Jenny Macklin: Families and Payments & Disability Reform

Richard Marles: Immigration and Border Protection

Shayne Neumann: Indigenous Affairs & Ageing

Brendan O'Connor: Employment and Workplace Relations

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