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Bourke to stand aside for ACT's first Greens Minister


Peter Jean

Labor MLA Chris Bourke.

Labor MLA Chris Bourke. Photo: Graham Tidy

Labor MLA Chris Bourke will give up his position as a minister in the ACT Government to make room for Greens MLA Shane Rattenbury.

Dr Bourke is currently Minister for Education and Training, Corrections and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.

Labor’s Legislative Assembly caucus has reconfirmed Chief Minister Katy Gallagher as its leader, Andrew Barr as deputy and ministers Simon Corbell and Joy Burch to the executive.

Under his power-sharing deal with Labor, Mr Rattenbury will become the ACT’s first Greens minister.

Ministerial portfolios are yet to be finalised but Ms Gallagher will keep health and take on higher education and regional affairs. Mr Barr will remain in the Treasury portfolio.

Ms Gallagher paid tribute to Dr Bourke for the work he had done as a minister since being appointed to a cabinet last year.

“He has earned my respect as a key member of our team and stepped up to the Ministry not long after being elected to the Assembly. I thank him for his work, and his contribution in his portfolio areas, in particular education – a key policy area in our re-election campaign,’’ Ms Gallagher said.

Dr Bourke, a dentist, became the first indigenous member of the Legislative Assembly when he filled a vacancy in the northern electorate of Ginninderra following the resignation of former chief minister Jon Stanhope last year.

He vowed to return to cabinet when a sixth position is eventually established.

“When a sixth ministry is created, I will be pushing for the opportunity to deliver progressive, evidence-based policy to make Canberra an even better city," he said.

"I am very proud of the policies that I took to this election in my key portfolios of Education, Corrections, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs and Industrial Relations."

Ms Gallagher hopes to eventually appoint an extra minister but this will require a special law being passed by the Assembly.

Dr Bourke said Canberra had the best schools in Australia and he wanted them to become the best in the world.

“We need to continue focusing on high achievers in maths and science, closing the gap in Indigenous education, supporting our quality public school teachers, embracing vocational education, and expanding the CIT,’’ he said.

“I am proud that during my time as Education Minister the ACT was the first Australian jurisdiction to get behind the Gonski reforms and a better future for our children.’’

Ms Gallagher said she would hold discussions with the new cabinet ministers before finalising the allocation of portfolios.

Labor MLA Mick Gentleman has been elected government whip and Yvette Berry will be Labor caucus secretary.

Ms Gallagher will formally be elected Chief Minister when the eighth Legislative Assembly meets for the first time on Tuesday morning.

Mr Rattenbury will vote with the Opposition to install Liberal MLA Vicki Dunne as Speaker of the Legislative Assembly.

Labor MLA Mary Porter will also nominate for the speaker’s position and is likely to win the consolation prize of the deputy speakership.

12 comments so far

  • Its a disgrace that the Greens have displaced the first aboriginal minister in the ACT ...... strike one against the Greens in their grubby deal. They will surpress any minority to remain relevant ...

    Spin Sick
    Date and time
    November 06, 2012, 8:38AM
    • That's a bit over the top. First Labor made the decision on which Ministerial position would have to be given to the Greens to remain in power. Second, Dr Bourke was the last in, so it makes sense he would be the first out. And finally, why should it matter if Dr Bourke was indigenous? He was brought in for his skills and political affiliations, so only you are making it about his race.

      Date and time
      November 06, 2012, 9:17AM
  • Having once tried to deal with Mr Bourke I say good riddance to him and his arrogant attitude.

    Date and time
    November 06, 2012, 9:25AM
    • Well thats the impact ....... are you saying that Rattenbury is a Minister because he is more talented? If talent was the selection criteria I suggest there would be very few of current the MLA's picked ..... Rattenbury is there to retain power pure and simple ..... The cost of that was the Australia's only serving Aboriginal Minister. Why didn't Corbell get axed? He got about 1900 votes to Bourke's over 5000 ..... Canberrans thought he was more talented.

      Its the exercise of power and its the Aboriginal that gets axed ...... if you want to talk last in first out ...... first in by 39,800 years .....

      Spin Sick
      Date and time
      November 06, 2012, 9:53AM
  • @ Spin Sick: Why do you keep bringing up Bourke's Aboriginal heritage? What has that got to do with anything?

    That Guy
    Date and time
    November 06, 2012, 11:05AM
    • Why didn't Labor's senior minister simply give Shane one of her portfolios? Why did Gallagher oust Bourke and give herself another 2 portfolios? Just make up another minister position, after all there are plenty of problems that need to be addressed in the ACT.

      Micromanagement at its best, that's all it is with Gallagher.

      Date and time
      November 06, 2012, 11:26AM
      • Simple - they are limited as to how many ministers they are allowed to have.

        Date and time
        November 06, 2012, 2:35PM
    • Rattenbury did not need to take a ministry position, he could have really stayed true to the election results and remained on the CROSS BENCH, truly keeping the govt to account. But no, he needed to take that ministry position, and why? According to him, the Greens deserve it after all that time in the assembly? Is he for real? Since when does length of time in the assembly amount to deserving a ministry? And really? After having 3/4 of his party wiped out at this election? I'd say it's pure arrogance for Shane to even think about being entitled to bring his personal and/or Greens agenda as non-negotiables to the table, it's a typical Greens approach, they represent a relatively minute number of aussies, and yet they impose their agenda on the masses, as though there is some entitlement to do so.

      Date and time
      November 06, 2012, 1:45PM
      • That is because his statements are acts of "hubris".

        Outraged of Palmerston
        Date and time
        November 06, 2012, 4:00PM
    • I would like to know how those who voted for Labor feel about being represented by a Green, thanks to Labor's largesse in punting one of their own to satisfy a selfish minority?

      Date and time
      November 06, 2012, 2:37PM

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