Anthony Albanese boasts of appointing ‘largest number of women ever in an Australian cabinet’

by Josh Butler
Prime minister unveils new frontbench team which includes 10 female cabinet ministers with Clare O’Neil given home affairs

Anthony Albanese has boasted of appointing a record number of women to his cabinet and ministry as the prime minister announced a frontbench team that shifted Richard Marles into defence and Clare O’Neil into home affairs.

Tanya Plibersek has been given responsibility for environment and water and Chris Bowen is the climate and energy minister as expected, while campaign spokesperson Jason Clare moves into education. A number of newcomers – including Anika Wells, Kristy McBain, Ged Kearney and Anne Aly – were promoted into the ministry.

“This is an exciting team, a team which is overflowing with talent, with people who are absolutely committed to making a difference,” Albanese said on Tuesday night.

“This is the largest number of women ever in an Australian cabinet with 10 women in the cabinet. In addition to that … there are 13 women in the ministry and 19 frontbenchers [which includes assistant ministers]. A record number, in all three categories for women’s representation – in cabinet, in the ministry and frontbench positions.”

As it stands, there are 10 women in the 23-member cabinet, three women in the seven-member outer ministry and six women in the 12-member assistant ministry, for a total of 19 women in the 42-member team.

Albanese detailed his debut frontbench on Tuesday night hours after the new Labor caucus met in the government party room for the first time.

“We need to change the way that politics operates in this country,” Albanese told the meeting. “We need to be more inclusive. We need to be prepared to reach out [and] we can do that in this parliament.”

Just moments before the press conference began, the seat of Gilmore was called for Labor. The government had itself claimed a win in Gilmore earlier in the day, despite incumbent MP Fiona Phillips leading Liberal challenger Andrew Constance by just 222 votes on the official electoral commission count.

Albanese boasted that the Gilmore hold meant the Coalition had “failed to win a single seat” off Labor at the election.

Gilmore takes the government to 77 seats in the House of Representatives after it secured a majority on Monday night with Macnamara called for Labor.