Brendan O’Connor named new Minister for Small Business

Brendan O'Connor, Minister for Small Business

Julia Gillard has named Brendan O’Connor as new the Minister for Small Business, with the portfolio getting a boost to the federal cabinet for the first time after last Monday’s leadership ballot led to a cabinet reshuffle.

Last week’s Labor caucus ballot prompted a cabinet reshuffle as the Prime Minister dealt with Kevin Rudd’s move to the backbench and Senator Mark Arbib’s resignation.

Brendan O’Connor was promoted to cabinet, becoming Minister for Small Business and Minister for Housing and Homelessness.

Former NSW Premier Bob Carr made a sudden move to Canberra after being named as Australia’s new Foreign Minister by Prime Minister Julia Gillard.

Carr said he “couldn’t say no” when offered the opportunity to join the government.

Though Simon Crean and Defence Minister Stephen Smith, who held the portfolio before Rudd, were in line for the position, Gillard is said to have been working to appoint Carr all week.

Carr has said he wants to honour Rudd’s achievements in his new role, but admitted there would be inevitable differences between their different approaches to the job.

Former Attorney-General Robert McLelland was demoted to the backbench following his strident support of Rudd, and criticism of Gillard, in the lead up to Monday’s ballot.

Gillard thanked him for his many years of service to the ministry, praising him as a great Labor man.

Immigration Minister Chris Bowen and Resources Minister Martin Ferguson, who also supported Rudd, were not moved from their portfolios, while Kim Carr became Minister for Human Services.

Greg Combet, Minister for Climate Change, Energy Efficiency, Industry and Innovation, also benefited from the reshuffle, adding Manufacturing to his portfolio.

ACT Senator Kate Lundy was named Minister for Sport, Multicultural Affairs, and Minister Assisting for Industry and Innovation, while Jason Clare became Minister for Defence Materiel.

In addition, Nicola Roxon’s support of Gillard earned her the title of Emergency Management Minister, with Minister for Sustainability and Environment Tony Burke becoming Vice President of the Executive Council.

Trade Minister Craig Emerson added Competiveness to his role, while David Bradbury was made Assistant Treasurer and Minister for Deregulation.

The last cabinet reshuffle was in December and Governor General Quentin Bryce will swear the new cabinet in today.