Kevin Rudd.
Kevin Rudd. Mireille Merlet-Shaw

Rudd's decision on frontbench reshuffle draws criticism

THE third Federal Government ministerial reshuffle in six months got mixed reactions from the community on Tuesday, after Prime Minister Kevin Rudd revealed his new-look frontbench.

Mr Rudd revealed his final decisions for the Cabinet and Ministry on Monday, players which will form the leaders of government in the time until the coming election.

While the team is essentially an interim government, the return of some experienced policy makers to the front bench was welcomed.

Several MPs who resigned from the ministry in March after the failed leadership coup have returned, including Chris Bowen and Senator Kim Carr.

Mr Carr is back as Minister for Innovation and Research and was welcomed by Universities Australia chief executive Belinda Robinson.

She said the appointment recognised the crucial role of universities in driving Australia's economic future.

"Senator Carr's track record on advancing science and research, and the new portfolio that has it linked to higher education, industry and innovation acknowledges the central role that universities will play in driving national productivity, economic diversity and advanced manufacturing," Ms Robinson said.

The National Farmers Federation also welcomed the appointment of Joel Fitzgibbon as Agriculture Minister, but was seeking a meeting with him urgently.

NFF chief executive Matt Linnegar said it was welcome that a regional MP had been selected to fill the role, although the sector would miss its "positive working relationship" with former minister Joe Ludwig.

While various sectors welcomed the change, as it put an end to speculation over a Labor leadership challenge, the Coalition hit out at the government over the repeated ministerial changes.

Deputy Opposition Leader Julie Bishop labelled the new ministry as "rewarding deceit, dishonesty and disloyalty" continuing the Opposition's attacks.

The reaction came as Mr Rudd met with the Business Council of Australia, in an effort to rebuild Labor's relationship with the sector after a disappointing six months for industry.

BCA president Tony Shepherd it was a constructive meeting and the Prime Minister was "keenly aware" of the issues facing business.

"We canvassed a range of topics, in particular the urgent need to mark out an agenda focused our loss of competitiveness and its impact on economic growth and employment," he said.

Mr Shepherd said all parties at the meeting had agreed to an "ongoing dialogue", but no major commitments were made.

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