Labor picks Broadband Minister, narrows portfolio

Kevin Rudd appointed the first Labor Cabinet in 12 years this afternoon with the announcement that Senator Stephen Conroy has been appointed as Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy.

Prime Minister-elect Kevin Rudd appointed the first Labor Cabinet in 12 years this afternoon with the announcement that Senator Stephen Conroy has been selected as Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy.

Conroy was appointed to the Ministerial position this afternoon in the midst of a Rudd government portfolio shake-up.

Since winning government on Sunday, Conroy has been considered the likely replacement for the outgoing Helen Coonan as the Minister in charge of ICT, but he will enter a different frontbench portfolio than his predecessor.

Coonan's portfolio not only encompassed communications and information technology, but also the arts -- now a separate portfolio under the stewardship of Peter Garrett, along with heritage and the environment.

Conroy's portfolio has been narrowed in a move likely to foreshadow Labor's focus on the implementation of a national fibre-to-the-node network and a number of other major ICT undertakings.

Conroy has also been appointed as Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate.

The Liberal Party also announced the appointment of outgoing Defence Minister Dr Brendan Nelson as the new Leader of the Opposition late this afternoon while former Communications Minister Helen Coonan resigned from the post of Deputy Liberal Party Leader in the Senate earlier today.

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