How Qld’s slimmer cabinet could focus on policy priority

What does Annastacia Palaszczuk’s slimmed-down cabinet say about the policy priorities of the new Queensland government? The smaller team of ministers may focus the bureaucracy on areas that really matter.

The last Queensland Labor cabinet before the ALP split tore it asunder had 11 members, headed by Premier Vince Gair. Jack Pizzey’s ministry, the last Country Party-led administration before Joh Bjelke-Petersen’s long reign began, had 13 members. The last National Party cabinet before Wayne Goss gained power in 1989 was Russell Cooper’s ministry of 19. Campbell Newman shared executive power with 18 other ministers before he resigned as premier on February 10.

The new Labor premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk (pictured), heads a cabinet of just 14.

During the election campaign, the reduction in the number of ministers, and the virtual abolition of assistant ministers, was justified as a cost reduction measure, coupled with the announcement that MPs’ salaries would be tied to public sector wage movements, a policy reaffirmed yesterday by the Premier. Perhaps because there were few who expected a Labor victory, the announcement attracted little comment, though I suspect it was electorally helpful.

Roger Scott wrote for The Mandarin about the administrative arrangements and the changes to the process for recruiting and reappointing directors-general. But there’s also a political and policy context to this move.

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