The West

Gray tipped for  resources ministry
Promotion: Gary Gray. Picture: Aaran Morton

Special Minister of State and key WA MP Gary Gray is likely to be promoted into Cabinet as Julia Gillard seeks to rebuild her battered Government in the run-up to the election in September.

Mr Gray, who has had carriage of key electoral reforms, is considered the frontrunner to replace Kevin Rudd supporter Martin Ferguson in the resources portfolio.

Mr Ferguson was one of three Cabinet ministers to resign after last week's aborted leadership challenge.

He was widely respected by the resources sector.

Mr Gray, a former Woodside executive, is also highly regarded within the energy sector because of his non-parliamentary background.

Promoting Mr Gray would fill one of several positions left vacant by the departures of Mr Ferguson, regional affairs minister Simon Crean, tertiary education minister Chris Bowen and human services minister Kim Carr.

The new Cabinet is expected to be announced today.

Home Affairs Minister Jason Clare is tipped for a Cabinet role as recognition for his work and expectations he could be a future leader.

Parliamentary secretary David Feeney, a key numbers man for Ms Gillard, is expected to be rewarded with a move into the ministry.

Other MPs in the running include parliamentary secretaries Mike Kelly, Catherine King and Jacinta Collins.

The Prime Minister's reshuffle - following on from changes after the retirements of Chris Evans and Nicola Roxon earlier this year- is further limited because a number of ministers cannot effectively be moved.

Treasurer Wayne Swan and Finance Minister Penny Wong are working on the key May 14 Budget.

A series of expenditure review meetings will be held this week aimed at finding more savings to help cover the cost of the national disability insurance scheme and the Gonski school reforms.

Other ministers, such as Schools Education Minister Peter Garrett and Families Minister Jenny Macklin, have carriage of major policy reforms.

Another minister who will not be moving is Leader of the House Anthony Albanese, despite being a supporter of Mr Rudd.

Mr Albanese, who advocated that Mr Rudd should campaign with Ms Gillard, said he would never support the spill of a sitting prime minister.

Instead, he advocated a new resolve within caucus to back Ms Gillard.

"The caucus needs to unite, each and every person, and make whatever contribution they can to ensure that we are re-elected and we stop Tony Abbott," Mr Albanese said.

Defence Minister Stephen Smith threw his support behind Mr Albanese staying in Cabinet.

"People who have to think about their position are those people who say and do things which are inconsistent with their executive position," he said.

The West Australian

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