Labor’s long-serving climate spokesperson and strong advocate for ambitious carbon reduction targets Mark Butler has been moved on from his position in a shadow cabinet reshuffle.
Mr Butler will replace Chris Bowen in the health portfolio, with speculation that Chris Bowen will take over the climate change and energy portfolio.
“I regard it as an economic portfolio and therefore someone who has been the Treasurer of Australia is imminently qualified to fill that role,” Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese said.
He affirmed that the change wouldn’t dilute Labor’s stance on climate change.
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Outspoken backbencher Joel Fitzgibbon backed Butler’s move, telling RN, “It will send the right message to our traditional base, but it won’t be enough alone.
“We also need to recalibrate our policy and our messaging if we are to reassure our traditional base that while we are serious on taking action on climate change—meaningful action—we will do so without risk or threat to their livelihoods.”
Mr Albanese said Mr Fitzgibbon’s comments do not reflect the wider sentiment in the Labor party.
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“The overwhelming view of people in the Labor Party is that we need strong action on climate change, and that strong action is good for jobs, that it’s good for lowering emissions, and also good for lowering energy prices,” Mr Albanese said.
The Liberal Party have slammed Mr Albanese for the move, saying he has “today backflipped on his support for Mark Butler in a desperate attempt to save his faltering leadership.”
Some industry figures commended Mr Butler for his work in the role.