John Howard’s former economic adviser, Senator Arthur Sinodinos, has been promoted into the finance portfolio by opposition leader Tony Abbott, through the creation of a trade and investment super-ministry, in a dramatic restructure of his economic team should the coalition win the election.
As The Australian reports, Abbott and his deputy, Julie Bishop, have found a way to transfer her trade responsibilities to Andrew Robb to create a senior frontbench position aiming to strengthen the “economic and commercial” opportunities for Australia.
In this framework, Sinodios, who is Shadow Parliamentary Secretary, will be promoted into the top role of Finance Minister in order to enhance the coalition’s economic credentials and political influence.
The new position is a retort to Kevin Rudd’s claim that the mining boom is over and the new minister’s priority is to attract $150 billion of investment in new resource projects over the next few years.
Robb’s new portfolio and the promotion of Sinodinos implies that Abbott will have to take some difficult decisions and to drop some members of his team, the paper reported. His team consists of 32 ministers, but if they win the elections Abbott will not be able to appoint more than 30 to form the government.