Newfound Labor cabinet clout

Julia Gillard's cabinet reshuffle has given Brendan O’Connor the opportunity to significantly shift Labor's fortunes at the next election, while Stephen Smith now faces a hefty decision.

All weekend all focus was on the appointment of Bob Carr as Foreign Minister. Yet as defence minister Stephen Smith will have a much bigger role in determining the future of the Australian nation. And, although he may not realise it yet, the new small business minister, Brendan O’Connor, has the opportunity as a cabinet minister to make the next election much closer than currently appears likely from the opinion polls.

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