New Prime Minister Julia Gillard has confirmed that only minimal changes will be made to her cabinet team, with Communications Minister Stephen Conroy to retain his position.
Gillard this afternoon held a press conference in Canberra to detail the new cabinet. However, she did not make any new significant appointments to its ranks, simply handing her own portfolios of education, employment and workplace relations to Simon Crean, with Foreign Minister Stephen Smith to add trade to his responsibilities.
Retiring Finance Minister Lindsay Tanner will retain his position until the election, which he is not planning to contest. The new Prime Minister emphasised the need for her government to remain stable and focus on governing before the election.
Gillard did not mention Conroy directly, but she made it clear that no other appointments would be made for the time being — no new cabinet ministers or parliamentary secretaries. A wider reshuffle may follow if Labor wins the election — "we will shape the team at that point", said Gillard.
The minor cabinet reshuffle will put paid to the speculation in Australia's technology sector over the past few days that Gillard may replace Conroy with fellow Labor Senator Kate Lundy due to her long-standing commitment to the portfolio — or hand off some of his responsibilities.