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Labor moves to expand cabinet

Date

Peter Jean

Greens MLA Shane Rattenbury announces his decision yesterday.

Greens MLA Shane Rattenbury announces his decision yesterday. Photo: Colleen Petch

Community Services Minister Joy Burch or Education Minister Chris Bourke face at least temporary relegation to the Assembly backbenches to make room in cabinet for Greens MLA Shane Rattenbury.

Chief Minister Katy Gallagher plans to expand the ACT executive from five to six ministers, but such a move would require the passage of a law through the Assembly.

Ms Gallagher said this meant the new government would need to start with five ministers.

The Chief Minister and her deputy Andrew Barr will take up two of the Labor ministerial positions and the third is expected to go to veteran MLA and minister Simon Corbell.

The eight-member Labor caucus will have to decide whether the final spot goes to Ms Burch or Dr Bourke.

Ms Gallagher said the growth in the ACT's population had increased the government's workload.

''I think we've got to the point where if people want good government and they want government to be able to respond all the time, then six ministers is a necessity,'' she said.

''It's not like I'm afraid of hard work - I'm happy to work very hard - but it comes to how much time physically and intellectually you can put into a portfolio.''

Opposition Leader Zed Seselja said he did not object in principle to the expansion of cabinet but wondered why Labor had not moved to do this earlier. ''They could have done this at any time but they've never taken it forward. I suspect it's been more about their concerns, could they fill six ministries,'' he said.

Under Labor's power-sharing agreement with the Greens further reform of the territory's political system will also be considered, with an expert committee to look at options for expanding the size of the Assembly.

Mr Rattenbury said on Sunday he was looking forward to being the first Greens member of an ACT cabinet.

''Obviously having a Green sitting inside a Labor cabinet has its challenges but I think the will is there to make it be successful,'' he said.

Mr Rattenbury believed he would be able to work constructively with his Labor colleagues, even if he sometimes spoke out publicly against government policies.

''I think there's room to have a different view without necessarily disrupting the flow of an agreement,'' he said.

During the previous Assembly the Greens were sometimes upset when ministers introduced policies without acknowledging they were contained in the Labor-Greens agreement.

Under the new agreement, ministers will have to acknowledge the fact that they are implementing Greens policies.

The government has also agreed not to make ''disproportionate'' budget cuts to portfolios to which Mr Rattenbury is appointed.

9 comments

  • Why not get rid of Corbell. He has a proven record as a dud with just about everything he touches becoming a mess.

    Commenter
    Ted47
    Date and time
    November 05, 2012, 8:58AM
    • Ted47 - good point. Rest Corbell on the backbenches.

      Commenter
      Outraged of Palmerston
      Date and time
      November 05, 2012, 9:24AM
      • I have no problem with this, I can't see why the cabinet can't be bigger.This sort of thing,can only benifit the community,and decrease the work load of the MLA's. But at the same time,maybe Gallagher is saying her talent pool is so shallow, that the Government and the residents of Canberra are doomed before we even start.

        Commenter
        Martin Says
        Location
        Canberra
        Date and time
        November 05, 2012, 9:37AM
        • We don't need more cabitnet ministers, just better ones.

          Commenter
          Woz
          Location
          Civic
          Date and time
          November 05, 2012, 9:49AM
          • Our population has grown considerably since self-government in 1989, but we still have only 17 MLAs, now with impossibly large workloads. If we want effective government across all areas, and judging from the whinges we get in online comments, many of us think we do, we need a bigger Assembly.

            Commenter
            Citizen
            Location
            Canberra
            Date and time
            November 05, 2012, 11:13AM
        • Why do we even need the ACT Government? It’s an overblown large city council with delusions of adequacy which spends more time medalling in Commonwealth responsibilities then doing the actual job that they are paid to do.

          Commenter
          James
          Location
          Canberra
          Date and time
          November 05, 2012, 11:39AM
          • I find James's comment more appropraite than Citizen's comment.

            Commenter
            Woz
            Location
            Civic
            Date and time
            November 05, 2012, 12:20PM
        • @citizen, more politicians does not mean better government, it simply means more snouts at the trough. If the ACT government is to be increased by say 5, then those 5 should be chosen at random off the electoral role. That would put an end to party politics and put some sort of democracy back into the spending directions of the ACT. As for more ministers, NO. The departmental heads should be left to run their depts, if anything lets ELECT the public servant heads of the depts and REDUCE the number of politicians by 10.

          Commenter
          Jakuba
          Date and time
          November 05, 2012, 12:03PM
          • Corbell got 1900 something votes, that is less than many who did not even get aguernsey, he is the weakest link.

            Commenter
            OLD DOG
            Location
            ACT
            Date and time
            November 05, 2012, 8:15PM
            Comments are now closed

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