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Labor looks to appoint new Shadow Treasurer -

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Labor looks to appoint new Shadow Treasurer

AM - Tuesday, 12 October , 2004 08:04:00

Reporter: Louise Yaxley

TONY EASTLEY: The Federal Opposition is likely to have a new Treasury spokesman to face Peter
Costello when Parliament resumes next month. After its devastating loss to the Coalition, Labor is
looking at its failed strategy and at some individuals. And the focus has fallen on Shadow
Treasurer, Simon Crean.

As for their part, the Labor leader and his deputy are not expected to be challenged when the
depleted Caucus meets next week.

Louise Yaxley reports.

LOUISE YAXLEY: Labor's trying to contain the amount of post-election bloodletting and scapegoating.
The leader, Mark Latham, won't face a challenge and the deputy, Jenny Macklin, is also unlikely to
have to face a contest.

The health spokeswoman, Julia Gillard, has ruled out any challenge against Ms Macklin, and it's
understood there are no other contenders.

Mark Latham says the party has to learn from its loss, and he nominates the economy as the area
where Labor has to improve and present stronger credentials - that puts the focus on the Shadow
Treasurer's job, now held by the former leader, Simon Crean.

Mr Latham says he doesn't have any concerns about the way Mr Crean campaigned during the election.

But there's an expectation within the Labor Caucus that Simon Crean will voluntarily give up the
job and take a different frontbench position. That would leave the way open for a fresh face
against Peter Costello.

The Coalition's campaign on interest rates and economic stability has left Labor bitter and angry.

Frontbencher Kim Carr questions whether the Prime Minister is now walking away from some of the
Coalition's spending promises during the last six weeks.

KIM CARR: He now says that he'll implement as much of the policy he's announced in terms of his
promises as he can. Well, hello, hello. What happened to these commitments he made to the
Australian people? Is he going to implement his policies or not?

We've got non-core and core promises again. The election campaign has just been fought - never
heard any of that. Never heard anything about the conditionality of the promises that are being
offered.

There was money being thrown around like a drunken sailor, and now we discover that the Government
wants to reassess the nature of its commitments made in this election campaign.

I think we're entitled to say this is a government that is not straight with the Australian people.
They said that they were the party that could protect the Australian people from higher interest
rates. Well, let's wait 'til the first interest rates occur and let's see what happens then.

LOUISE YAXLEY: Mr Howard will announce his own new ministerial line-up next week - the two
certainties are that Peter Costello will keep the treasurer's position, and Alexander Downer will
keep Foreign Affairs.

TONY EASTLEY: Louise Yaxley reporting.