Illawarra MPs Stephen Jones and Sharon Bird were yesterday named in the new Labor shadow ministry.
Ms Bird will serve in the outer shadow ministry as shadow minister for vocational education and said she was keen to keep vocational education on the national agenda.
‘‘Particularly in regions like ours, making sure people have the qualifications they need to give them flexibility over a lifetime of work is a really important factor.’’
She will be meeting with opposition spokesman for higher education, research, innovation and industry Kim Carr on Monday to discuss their strategies and ideas for the sector.
Mr Jones was appointed to the role of shadow parliamentary secretary for regional development and infrastructure, an area he said he was already passionate about.
‘‘I’ve been passionate about it locally and want to extend that nationally, and want to advocate particularly for our rail sector and maritime sector.
‘‘Those regional areas with high unemployment going through economic transitions will be our focus, places like the Illawarra, the Central Coast, Geelong, these are areas that have got to be given the benefit of government attention.’’
Mr Jones plans to campaign with the community to keep Prime Minister Tony Abbott true to his claim that he wanted to be known as the ‘‘infrastructure prime minister’’.
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said his first ministry was ‘‘energetic and diverse’’. Almost half are women and it contains more working parents and Generation Xers.
‘‘There is more Gen X in this shadow line-up than has existed before in Australian politics,’’ he said yesterday.
‘‘This is balanced...with both experience in government and in opposition.’’
Under a host of changes to Labor’s frontbench, Tanya Plibersek replaces Labor’s former foreign affairs spokesperson in government, Senator Bob Carr, who is widely tipped to quit Parliament.
As expected, Chris Bowen has retained the treasury portfolio, but former finance minister Penny Wong has moved to trade and investment and Tony Burke has been made finance spokesman.
Mr Shorten decided to retain former climate change minister Mark Butler in what promises to be a key issue portfolio in coming months, citing the importance of continuity in the upcoming debate with the government over carbon pricing.
Former trade minister Richard Marles will take the fight to Scott Morrison in immigration and border protection.
Defeated leadership candidate Anthony Albanese was named transport and infrastructure spokesman. He also has the tourism portfolio.
Mr Shorten said it was important to have someone of Mr Albanese’s calibre working in what he called ‘‘very future-focused areas’’.
In a surprise move, former communications minister Stephen Conroy was shifted to defence. Communications has gone to Jason Clare.
‘‘Senator Conroy has a great skill set in the Senate, it’s where the government’s spokesperson for defence is and I think it will be one of the very important and interesting match-ups,’’ Mr Shorten said.
MPs to receive significant promotions including Catherine King (health), Shayne Newman (indigenous affairs and ageing), and Andrew Leigh (shadow assistant treasurer).