South-East MPs fill Cabinet

New minister Gabrielle Williams will oversee the key issue of Prevention of Family Violence.

By Cam Lucadou-Wells

Dandenong-based MPs Gabrielle Williams and Adem Somyurek are in and Keysborough MP Martin Pakula shuffled in a new-look State Cabinet.

In the new gender-equal cabinet installed after Labor’s emphatic re-election, Ms Williams will oversee family-violence prevention.

The issue has been identified as the State Government’s no.1 law-and-order priority.

Ms Williams will also be Minister for Women and Minister for Youth.

It is a stellar rise for the rising-star MP after serving just one term.

She served as Parliamentary Secretary for Carers and Volunteers, as well as for Industry and Employment, and for Health.

Ms Williams had earned one of the largest swings in the 24 November election, entrenching her seat with a near 25 per cent margin.

The new Cabinet portfolios of child protection, carers, youth justice, solar homes and victim support also hint at the recently re-elected Government’s agenda.

One of several shifting Ministers, Mr Pakula has passed on the Attorney-General post to former Health Minister Jill Hennessy.

He was sworn in the Minister for Jobs, Innovation and Trade as well as Minister for Tourism, Sport and Major Events, as well as retaining the racing portfolio.

In a shock move, South-East Metro MP Adem Somyurek returns to the front bench after being stood down over allegations of bullying a staffer.

He will be sworn in as Minister of Small Business and Minister of Local Government.

His replacement Phillip Dalidakis is one of three Ministers to have made way for the changes. The other delistings were John Eren and Natalie Hutchins.

In other big changes, Narre Warren North MP Luke Donnellan has shifted from roads and ports to child protection and ageing, disability and carers.

The South-East will be also represented in Cabinet by Gavin Jennings and Premier Daniel Andrews.

The new gender-equal Cabinet has 11 men and 11 women.

Meanwhile, as of 30 November, South-East Metro incumbents Inga Peulich (Liberal) and Nina Springle (Greens) remained in a tight scrap with micro-parties for a seat in Parliament.

Labor has secured three seats in the region, with the Liberal Party’s Gordon Rich-Phillips.

According to ABC’s Anthony Green’s estimates, David Limbrick of the Liberal Democrats was leading the race for the fifth South East Metro upper house seat.

Mr Limbrick’s party had secured less than 1 per cent of the vote.

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