First-term MPs elevated to Libs ‘youth’ front bench

Three former ministers have resigned from the Liberal front to make way for four first-term MPs in what opposition leader David Speirs describes as a “new” shadow ministry with just under 50 portfolios.

New MP and former Marshall government media adviser Ashton Hurn will take over the health portfolio from former minister Stephen Wade, vowing to hold the Labor government to account on a decisive election promise to solve the ambulance surge crisis.

She will be assisted by fellow first-term MP Penny Pratt, who has been appointed shadow minister for regional health services, aging and preventive health and wellness.

Other new MPs to be promoted include former Tumby Bay Mayor and Local Government Association President Sam Telfer, who will take on the portfolios of local government, regional population growth and regional planning, while fledgling MLC Laura Curran, will serve as parliamentary secretary to follow the Attorney General. Josh Teague.

Opposition health spokeswoman Ashton Hurn with leader David Speirs. Photo: Tony Lewis/InDaily

The new appointments are made at the expense of former ministers Wade, David Pisoni and David Basham.

“I wanted to be the only David in the cabinet, so I thought the other two Davids just had no place for them,” Speirs joked, before confirming that they had volunteered to step down from the front bench.

“They wanted to focus on supporting the team by mentoring and taking care of their constituents.

“Some of those people had pretty close election results on 19the March and so they really wanted to go back to their constituencies, spend more time connecting with the communities that elected them in March.”

Asked if he would have made room for former Attorney General Vickie Chapman in his first seat had she not made the decision earlier this week to resign from politics amid allegations of a feud between the pair, Speirs said: ” There might well have been a place for Vickie Chapman in the shadow cabinet.”

“She had immense experience, she has contributed a lot to the party, to the state,” he said.

“I hope that Vickie continues to advise some of the people in the shadow cabinet, some of the people in parliament.

“She has indicated that she would love to be alongside the younger women on the team and give them support and the benefit of her experience and I appreciate that 100 percent.”

The opposition leader, who retained the environment portfolio he held in government, described his new front bench as “fresh” and “youthful”, noting that five of his appointed shadow ministers are in their 30s.

“There are people from all walks of life, different backgrounds; it’s really a shadow cabinet moving forward, moving the Liberal Party forward,” he said.

“I am Leader of the Opposition, the youngest leader of the Liberal Party in the history of our state. I’m 37

“I think I was able to be a pretty successful minister for four years in my 30s and I hope that the people behind me and the other members of the shadow cabinet will provide a really exciting alternative vision for the state of South Australia.”

The complete liberal frontbench includes:

  • David Spiers: Leader of the Opposition, Shadow Minister for the Environment, Small Businesses and Families, Public Service and Disability
  • John Gardner: Deputy Leader of the Opposition, Shadow Minister for Education, Training and Skills, and Arts and Festivals
  • Nicholas Centofanti: Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Council, Shadow Minister for the South Australian Region, Primary Industries, Water Resources and the Murray River
  • Jin Lee: Shadow Minister for Multicultural South Australia, Communities, Tourism and Hospitality
  • Michelle Lensink: Shadow Minister for Planning, Social and Community Housing, Housing Affordability and Urban Development, and Women
  • Ashton Hurn: Shadow Minister for Health
  • Vincent Tarzia: Shadow Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, and Sport, Recreation and Racing
  • Stephen Patterson: Shadow Minister for Energy and Net Zero, Mining and Defense and Space Industries
  • Josh Teague: Shadow Attorney General, Shadow Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Child Protection and Family and Domestic Violence Prevention
  • Matt Cowdrey: shadow treasurer
  • Penny Pratt: Shadow Minister for Regional Health Services, Aging and Preventive Health and Wellness
  • Heidi Girolamo: Shadow Minister for Finance, Trade and Investment and Circular Economy
  • Tim whetstone: Shadow Minister for Police and Community Safety, Road Safety, Corrections, and Mental Health and Suicide Prevention
  • Adrian Pederick: Shadow Minister for Veterans Affairs, Emergency Services and Regional Roads
  • Sam Telfer: Shadow Minister for Local Government, Regional Population Growth and Regional Planning
  • Nick McBride: Parliamentary Shadow Secretary for Regional Engagement
  • Laura Curran: Shadow Parliamentary Secretary to the Shadow Attorney General
  • Dennis hood: shadow cabinet secretary

The appointments of Cowdrey and Girolamo were announced by the party last night.

Asked on ABC Radio Adelaide this morning if he threatened before the March election not to run for his Colton seat if he wasn’t promoted to the first seat, Cowdrey did not answer directly, saying he was “very interested in contributing in a greater way”. .

“There are always times when you reflect and look at what you’re doing and how you contribute, and like I said, I’ve really enjoyed what I’m doing,” he said.

“I hope I can contribute in a bigger way in the future.”

Opposition Treasury spokesman Matt Cowdrey. Photo: Tony Lewis/InDaily

The Paralympian-turned-politician told reporters later this morning that he could “absolutely 100 percent” rule out suggestions that he threatened not to run.

“Before the last election did I seek an indication from the then prime minister as to what my future might hold? I absolutely did,” he said.

“I make no apologies for wanting to serve my community to the best of my ability, but when it comes to making threats, that’s certainly not what I do.”

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