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Plibersek moves to education in Labor frontbench shakeup -

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ELIZABETH JACKSON: Today the Opposition Leader, Bill Shorten, will announce his new-look frontbench.

The deputy Labor leader, Tanya Plibersek, will take on education. She's one of 32 MPs who will be allocated a portfolio.

From Canberra, here's our reporter, Peta Donald:

PETA DONALD: Ed Husic from Sydney is one of the lucky ones. He's one of five Labor MPs who have been promoted to the Opposition's frontbench after a vote yesterday by their colleagues and, before that, much factional wrangling.

ED HUSIC: It's been, you know, at the get-go a huge honour to be elected to the House of Representatives. But now, with a much greater chance to influence policy debate is just: it's phenomenally good.

Now, like the others, he's waiting for a phone call from Bill Shorten to find out which portfolio he'll get.

It's in the lap of the leader. So I will wait. I'll see. But I'm here to serve.

PETA DONALD: Chris Bowen will remain shadow treasurer. But Bill Shorten is moving some big jobs around.

Tanya Plibersek is leaving foreign affairs to take on the key domestic portfolio of education, including both schools and higher education. Kate Ellis, who has held education, will hang onto early childhood education and take on vocational education.

Richard Marles, who has done some hard yards in immigration, is a possibility for foreign affairs or to trade, if Penny Wong moves to foreign affairs.

Up-and-comer Jim Chalmers will go into shadow cabinet, possibly as shadow finance minister.

All up, Bill Shorten has 32 portfolios to allocate after expanding his frontbench by two, allowing Labor veteran Kim Carr to stay on.

The factionally unaligned Andrew Leigh is one who will have to do the job of a frontbencher without the normal allowances.

Ed Husic:

ED HUSIC: Bill has taken the opportunity to try and draw on as many people as he can to help do the job which we need to do, which is: 1) hold the Government to account; 2) develop the policies. And I think he's trying to tap into as many talents as he can.

PETA DONALD: What about Andrew Leigh, though? Because he's had to take a $40,000 pay cut simply because he didn't have the factional support. That's how it looks. Is that fair? Is that a good system?

ED HUSIC: Well, it depends on who you, you know, you'll have a range of different people make a range of different observations about whether or not their talents are being used in the best possible way.

And again, there will be people that will argue the case for Andrew. Andrew is still there. He's got a great contribution to continue making, as he did in the last term and as he did in his first term as well. So he is still there.

As I said, the great thing about this expanded frontbench is that it allows... we've got a depth of talent that we can reach into and get people's contributions. I think this allows, for example, people like Andrew Leigh to continue to make that contribution. I think it's a great thing.

ELIZABETH JACKSON: And that was Ed Husic, Labor frontbencher, speaking there to our reporter, Peta Donald.