Richmond MP Justine Elliot with husband Craig and daughter Alex, 11. Ms Elliot stepped down as Ageing Minister to spend more time with her family.
Richmond MP Justine Elliot with husband Craig and daughter Alex, 11. Ms Elliot stepped down as Ageing Minister to spend more time with her family.

Justine Elliot leaves cabinet role

RICHMOND MP Justine Elliot has stepped down as Federal Ageing Minister to take up a position as parliamentary secretary for the Trade portfolio.

Ms Elliot yesterday revealed she had requested a job shift from Prime Minister Julia Gillard after serving just one term on the front bench.

The move was announced in a Cabinet shake-up by Ms Gillard on Saturday.

Ms Elliot will now serve under new Trade Minister Craig Emerson.

“I requested a new challenge from the Prime Minister,” Ms Elliot said.

“It was an honour and privilege to be the Ageing Minister and it was important to deliver on the many plans and reforms we had.

“I'm very pleased with the new position the Prime Minister has offered me.”

The Fingal Head resident cited time with her family as a key reason in her decision to step down from the front bench.

“It's about getting that balance right. Being a minister there is a lot of travel involved and I wanted to make sure I had enough time to talk with people in our electorate as well as be there at home with my family,” she said.

Despite her short time as Ageing Minister Ms Elliot said she was proud of the reforms she had helped to bring in.

“I have no regrets at all, I really enjoyed it. I met a lot of wonderful older Australians and go to know the people who work in our aged-care system,” she said.

The new ministry will be sworn in next week, but Ms Elliot is already looking forward to going to work for Mr Emerson

“He will be a wonderful Trade Minister. He's very skilful and it's wonderful to have him in the role,” she said.

Ms Elliot said she looked forward to discussing her new parliamentary role with Tweed Shire businesses.

“Trade is a really interesting area, especially on the North Coast. Over the years I've had many dealings with local businesses that export,” she said.

“We have wonderful products here and all over Australia. I want to be part of promoting and assisting them.

“I'm looking forward to helping them with opportunities for them to expand into bigger markets overseas. It's an important area for Australia's future.”

Ms Elliot yesterday declined to speculate on any potential return to the front bench in a future term of government, saying she was focused on her upcoming role as a parliamentary secretary.

Also under the new ministry, ousted Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has been appointed Foreign Minister, Stephen Smith moves to Defence and Penny Wong takes the Finance portfolio.

The next Ageing Minister was named as Mark Butler, who has just served a term as parliamentary secretary for the Health ministry.

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