Kim Carr dumped from cabinet; Greg Combet to head innovation portfolio

Senator Kim Carr has been dropped from cabinet, to be replaced by Greg Combet, who will look after an expanded portfolio with the help of Senator Carr as Minister for Manufacturing, Prime Minister Julia Gillard announced today.

The announcements were among various changes to the ministry announced today, including a newly-expanded Department of Industry, Innovation, Science, Research and Tertiary Education, which will be established and led by two Cabinet Ministers, Greg Combet MP and Senator Chris Evans.

In response to the changes, Senator Carr’s press office assured Manufacturers’ Monthly that Senator Carr (pictured above, right) is still the main man in manufacturing, and provided the following message from the Senator: "There’s a future for Australian manufacturing and I’m committed to working for it and the one million Australians who work in it.”

Greg Combet MP (pictured, right) will now be appointed Minister for Industry and Innovation, and will retain his responsibilities for the Climate Change and Energy Efficiency portfolio. 

Senator Chris Evans will be appointed Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills, Science and Research, along with his existing role as Leader of the Government in the Senate.

Senator Carr will be appointed Minister for Manufacturing, “To support the strong focus in the new Ministry on Australian industry, particularly the manufacturing sector,” Gillard said.

“This new portfolio will mean better links between industry, innovation, science, research and tertiary education.”

Senator Carr will also be appointed Minister for Defence Materiel, in addition to his duties as Minister for Manufacturing.

Mark Dreyfus MP will be appointed Parliamentary Secretary for Industry and Innovation, supporting Minister Combet.  

Dreyfus will continue to serve as Cabinet Secretary and Parliamentary Secretary for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency.

“These changes will better equip the Government to focus on its priorities for the coming year: keeping the economy strong and ensuring Australians have jobs as the economy goes through a period of profound transformation; and using our prosperity to spread benefits to all Australians,” said Gillard.

“The Australian economy and Australian businesses will face both challenges and opportunities in coming years as our economy transforms.

“The transition to a clean energy future, the emergence of new technologies and the changes to existing industries to take advantage of new conditions will bring enormous opportunities our nation must be ready to seize.

“The changes to the Ministry will support a stronger focus on industry, innovation, productivity and participation, to ensure Australia is in the best possible position as we go through this transition.”

Shadow innovation minister, Sophie Mirabella, has taken the opportunity to hit-out at Senator Carr’s management of the innovation portfolio.

“Mr Carr’s performance was marked by his obsession with unaccountable spending of billions of dollars, and his belligerent hostility to critics. He also presided over the worst rate of manufacturing job losses in Australia’s history, and a succession of atrocious policy and strategic blunders,” she said.

“Mr Carr infamously quipped in 2008 that ‘nobody’s job is safe’ under this dreadful Labor government – and, in the end, it was a judgement far closer to reality than even he probably imagined at the time.” 


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