Appointments, Regulation

Labor names new face in financial services role

Opposition leader Anthony Albanese has announced a former lawyer and union organiser will take on the role of Labor’s financial services spokesman.

Albanese named Stephen Jones in the role as part of his new shadow ministry in which Jones will also take on the role of assistant treasury spokesman.

In the first role, he succeeds Claire O’Neil, who held the post in the second Shorten shadow ministry, and in the second role he succeeds Andrew Leigh.

Matt Thistlethwaite has been named as assistant financial services spokesman, having previously been assistant treasury spokesman under Bill Shorten.

Albanese named Jim Chalmers as treasury spokesman, replacing Chris Bowen in the role. Chalmers was the ALP’s financial services and superannuation spokesman from October 2015 to July 2016 and then finance spokesman from July 2016 until the current appointment.

He is succeeded in the latter role by Senator Katy Gallagher, who was Labor’s small business and financial services spokeswoman from July 2016 to December 2017, at which time she was forced to leave parliament due to a High Court decision that found she was not an Australian citizen when elected.

The government unveiled its new ministerial line-up last week, leaving Josh Frydenberg as Treasurer and Mathias Cormann as Finance Minister, but did announce that former financial services executive Senator Jane Hume would be Assistant Minister for Superannuation, Financial Services and Finance.

The SMSF Association stated the appointment of five shadow ministers to economic portfolios showed a “genuine commitment to policy development” by the opposition.

Association chief executive John Maroney welcomed the five appointments, adding: “A strong shadow economic ministry is critically important at this junction considering the broad policy agenda that will result from implementing the recommendations of the financial services royal commission and the Productivity Commission on superannuation.

“It is also important as Labor aims to build new economic policies, to improve on existing policies and consult with industry as they develop a new program to take to the next election.”

Maroney said the association looked forward to working with the opposition economic team on simplifying the superannuation system and legislating an objective for super.

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