Here are the main stories on 31 May:
We will see you all again tomorrow.
The Australian Medical Association president, Dr Omar Khorshid, has welcomed the appointment of Mark Butler as health minister and called for upcoming discussions on healthcare to address the “growing crisis in Australia’s hospital system”.
In a statement, Khorshid said Butler had invaluable experience as a former minister for ageing and Australia’s first minister for mental health in the Gillard government, as well as in the role of opposition health spokesman. But he urged him to “grasp this opportunity to start a new relationship with the states and territories on reforming the health system”.
While we need a long-term funding solution, we also need practical, short-to-medium-term solutions that can be implemented soon and don’t have any unintended consequences, including extending the short-term 50/50 hospital funding that’s due to expire in September.
Covid is not over. We need to work on way to make our society and health system more resilient to endemic Covid in order to avoid unnecessary deaths and the huge disruptions to our hospital system. This winter, we need to make sure people with respiratory illnesses are getting the care they need in the right settings.
Just on Albanese’s comments earlier about his cabinet containing more women than any other in history: he has 10 women in the 22 cabinet positions, and 13 in total in the ministry of 29.
Worth noting that climate change is not part of the environment portfolio held by Tanya Plibersek, who also has responsibility for water. Chris Bowen is minister for climate change and energy.
- Richard Marles (Deputy prime minister, minister for defence)
- Penny Wong (Minister for foreign affairs)
- Jim Chalmers (Treasurer)
- Katy Gallagher (Minister for finance, minister for the public service, minister for women)
- Don Farrell (Minister for trade and tourism, special minister of state)
- Tony Burke (Minister for employment and workplace relations, minister for the arts)
- Mark Butler (Minister for health and aged care)
- Chris Bowen (Minister for climate change and energy)
- Tanya Plibersek (Minister for the environment and water)
- Catherine King (Minister for infrastructure, transport, regional development and local government)
- Linda Burney (Minister for Indigenous Australians)
- Amanda Rishworth (Minister for social services)
- Bill Shorten (Minister for the National Disability Insurance Scheme, Minister for government services)
- Mark Dreyfus (Attorney general)
- Brendan O’Connor (Minister for skills and training)
- Jason Clare (Minister for education)
- Julie Collins (Minister for housing, minister for homelessness, minister for small business)
- Michelle Rowland (Minister for communications)
- Madeleine King (Minister for resources, minister for Northern Australia)
- Murray Watt (Minister for agriculture, fisheries and forestry, minister for emergency management)
- Ed Husic (Minister for industry and science)
- Clare O’Neil (Minister for home affairs, Minister for cyber security)
- Matt Keogh (Minister for veterans’ affairs, minister for defence personnel)
- Pat Conroy (Minister for defence industry, Minister for international development and the Pacific)
- Stephen Jones (Assistant treasurer, minister for financial services)
- Andrew Giles (Minister for immigration, citizenship and multicultural affairs)
- Anne Aly (Minister for early childhood education, Minister for youth)
- Anika Wells (Minister for aged care, minister for sport)
- Kristy McBain (Minister for regional development, local government and territories)
- Justine Elliot (Assistant minister for social services, assistant minister for the prevention of family violence)
- Matt Thistlethwaite (Assistant minister for defence, assistant minister for veterans’ affairs, assistant minister for the republic)
- Andrew Leigh (Assistant minister for competition, charities and treasury)
- Patrick Gorman (Assistant minister to the prime minister)
- Jenny McAllister (Assistant minister for climate change and energy)
- Carol Brown (Assistant minister for infrastructure and transport)
- Ged Kearney (Assistant minister for health and aged care)
- Emma McBride (Assistant minister for mental health, assistant minister for rural and regional health)
- Malarndirri McCarthy (Assistant minister for Indigenous Australians, Assistant minister for Indigenous health)
- Tim Ayres (Assistant minister for trade, assistant minister for manufacturing)
- Anthony Chisholm (Assistant minister for education, assistant minister for regional development)
- Tim Watts (Assistant minister for foreign affairs)
OK, we have a full ministry list:
Anthony Albanese has declined to offer a public update on any representations he might be making to the US about the case against the Wikileaks cofounder, Julian Assange. The prime minister gave a response that indicated any discussions would be conducted behind closed doors.
Albanese has previously expressed concern about the case against Assange for disclosures related to the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, saying in December 2021 he did “not see what purpose is served by the ongoing pursuit of Mr Assange” and that “enough is enough”.
Penny Wong, who is now minister for foreign affairs, told the National Press Club on 13 May:
I think whatever the views people have about Mr Assange’s behaviour, I think the case – it is clear that this has dragged on a long time. And certainly, we would encourage, were we elected, the US government to bring this matter to a close. But ultimately, that is a matter for the administration.
Guardian Australia asked whether Albanese’s position, as prime minister, was that the US should be encouraged to drop charges against Assange and whether he had made any representations to that effect. The prime minister replied with a single-sentence response:
My position is that not all foreign affairs is best done with the loudhailer.
A few people have pointed out that the Billy Bragg reference Albanese made was to the song “to have and to have not”, and specifically to the lyric: “just because you’re going forwards, doesn’t mean I’m going backwards”. Which makes a little more sense than what I’d heard earlier.
OK, here’s a bit of a cobbled together list for now, in no particular order:
- Penny Wong, foreign affairs
- Jim Chalmers, treasurer
- Katy Gallagher, finance and women
- Tanya Plibersek, environment and water
- Chris Bowen, climate change
- Jason Clare, education
- Richard Marles, defence
- Don Farrell, trade and special minister of state
- Clare O’Neil, home affairs
- Amanda Rishworth, social services
- Bill Shorten, NDIS and government services
- Julie Collins, housing
- Anne Aly, childhood education and youth
- Brendan O’Connor, skills and training
- Murray Watt, agriculture
- Ed Husic, science