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Priorities on track.

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Shadow Minister for Health


Today Simon Crean announced his intention to call a ballot for the leadership of the Federal Parliamentary Labor Party when Caucus meets on Tuesday 2 December. Simon also announced he would not be a candidate for the leadership at that ballot.

I have had the honour of serving on Labor’s frontbench under Simon’s leadership for a little over two years. In that time, I have been Shadow Minister for Population and Immigration for more than 18 months; also Shadow Minister for Reconciliation and Indigenous Affairs for almost 6 months of that time and, since July 2003, Shadow Minister for Health.

I want to pay tribute to Simon Crean for supporting me in being elected to the frontbench and for making the brave call to have a new frontbencher tackle the demanding portfolio of Population and Immigration. Upon becoming Opposition Leader in November 2001, he embarked on a major rejuvenation of the frontbench and I was one of those elected to the Shadow Ministry.

Simon Crean is a man who has always demonstrated great courage under fire, no more so than in recent days. He is an honourable and decent man, a man who is supportive of his colleagues. I am thankful to have served under his leadership and I trust he will continue to make a contribution to our great party, whatever the future holds for him.

Today is not the time to be talking about what will happen on Tuesday when the Labor caucus meets. However, we need to concentrate on building upon Simon’s legacy of bold policy and party renewal.

28 November 2003