Time for a Cabinet Shuffle?

Upcoming OBA AGM

In a matter of weeks the governing OBA will be holding their first annual general meeting since assuming power in December 2012.

They’ve already voted for a new constitution (I keep meaning to do a comparison of the new and old versions); I’m not sure really what their itinerary is, although I am aware there is supposed to be a regularly scheduled leadership vote – although under their new constitution this won’t happen again for four years – although an extraordinary leadership vote would still be possible before then.

I’m not sure if Mr Cannonier will survive such a vote.

The OBA seems to have some quite active divisions still, between what one might call an ‘old UBP’ clique and a ‘BDA clique’, as well as factions within those cliques, and factions that cut across them (social conservatives versus social liberals, and neoliberals versus client capitalism, etc, for example).

There’s also the ongoing tension between presenting a political public relations image and having an effective leader.  It’s not clear if the current Premier is the former or the latter, but there’s definitely been some calls for his replacement with a more ‘effective’ leader.

Effective, of course, is relative, and may mean simply being beholden to certain special interests groups which may hold the purse-strings of the OBA.

Cabinet Shuffle & Senate Appointments

One thing I do feel fairly certain about is that regardless of what else happens in the OBA’s AGM, following it (possible just prior, but I think after is more likely) there’s going to be some personnel changes.

There’s some Ministers that have been somewhat disappointing – or even a political liability.

Chief among these would have to be Minister Brangman, the Minister of Education.

I’ve met Minister Brangman a few times.  He’s a really nice guy.  But he’s been in the middle of a number of increasingly embarrassing gaffes, as well as various controversies and has been found wanting in terms of being able to answer even simple policy questions during press conferences.

Quite frankly, he seems out of his depth.

While he may stay on as a Senator (or be discarded to make space for others), I feel that of all the existing Cabinet Ministers he is at the greatest risk of losing his portfolio.  I wouldn’t be surprised if he is replaced by Leah Scott (who’s continued, and generally unexplained, Minister without portfolio position is itself increasingly a political liability).

I’ve also been rather disappointed by Minister Pamplin-Gordon.

She’s a formidable MP, but from my watching her in the House, and reading her comments in the various media, I’ve found her to be a lacklustre Minister of Health – one that seems to not really be putting in the hours, as highlighted by her continuing as a part-time Minister.  Leah Scott is also a candidate for assuming that position, having, allegedly, been helping the part-time Minister pick up the slack here.

Minister Moniz has been at the centre of some controversies, as Minister of Public Works, but I’ve actually found him to be competent in that position, aside from occassionally failing to do his homework.  However, I reckon he’d be gunning for the AG’s position, and is no doubt agitating for that behind the scenes.

Minister Pettingill, the current AG, has advocated some rather progressive positions, but he’s also been a lightning rod for controversy, more (speaking personally) for his apparent hiring of staff outside the civil service from his previous private enterprise.  He’s also a bit of a target from certain OBA quarters for his association with Dr Brown.  All of this makes his position under threat.

Minister Dunkley has been a pretty good Minister of National Security.  I don’t see him being under threat.  Nor Minister Fahy.

Minister Gibbons could be moved to the Education portfolio (having held that when the OBA was in Opposition), arguably.

Minister Richards position is secure, same with Minister Crockwell, imho.

I can’t really see Minister Wayne Scott or Minister Sylvan Richards being moved either.

In the Senate, I think Senator Alexis Swan, Senator Baron and Senator Fahy are secure.

Senator Brangman and Senator Woolridge though, I can see them being discarded to make way for new blood.  I wouldn’t be surprised if the OBA Chairperson Thad Hollis, or Deputy Chair Micheal Branco, are in the running for a Senate seat, and I also think the OBA would be eager to give Andrew Simmons (OBA candidate for #17 in the last election) or Nick Kempe (#18) some experience.

Having said that, the OBA have a dearth of front-line women, and they may want to bump those numbers up with Senate appointments.  These could come from some of their failed female candidate from the election, or from within their ranks.



5 thoughts on “Time for a Cabinet Shuffle?

  1. I agree that Senators Swan, Fahy, and Baron are pretty secure.

    Wayne Scott or Sylvan Richards probably won’t be moved in my opinion.

  2. I understand the interest in things like cabinet shuffles and the possibilities of politicians getting promoted or shafted, but boy, I hope this doesn’t become the political highlight of this half of the year.

    And, dear lord, if the Education Minister is replaced yet again and again, what would that say about (a) the way this department is treated by politicians, (b) the reluctance to make this one of *the* most critical areas for government to step up and be committed to a cause?

  3. Well, I was about two months off in my timings though…

    I really did think Sylvan Richards was secure, although in hindsight he didn’t strike me as a strong performer. Apart from his ‘blackety blackety black’ gaffe he was more a Cabinet wallflower than anything else in my opinion.

    A combination of Environment and Health is, well, interesting. Could make for some progressive synergies though!

    I’m still catching up on news – still officially on vacation. I see I’ve missed a lot in the one week I chose to be mostly off-line!

  4. Pingback: An opening in the Senate? | "catch a fire"

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