Anthony Albanese’s near-death experience triggered wholesale shadow cabinet changes that could determine his political life.
The Labor leader resolved to make every day count after escaping a serious car crash earlier in the month.
In announcing a surprisingly wide-ranging reshuffle, Albanese said the event strengthened his resolve not to take the easy option.
With a growing feeling within caucus that the opposition is meandering towards a fourth-straight defeat, a recalibration was needed to quell a rising tide of discontent.
Reneging on an earlier commitment, left faction MP Mark Butler lost the climate change and energy portfolio he had held since Labor lost government in 2013.
Chris Bowen’s appointment aims to counter restlessness on the right led by rebel backbencher Joel Fitzgibbon.
But it doesn’t end the climate tug-of-war between opposing factional flanks.
Deputy leader Richard Marles is the new “shadow minister for jobs, jobs and more jobs” as the person leading the charge on national reconstruction from coronavirus.
He’s also picked up training – rebadged as skills – from Albanese’s biggest leadership threat Tanya Plibersek, who had shadow women’s minister restored to her title.
Kristina Keneally has added government accountability to her responsibilities, increasing her standing as one of the opposition’s chief attackers.
Albanese desperately needs to start landing some punches on Scott Morrison with rampant speculation Australians could go to the polls this year.
Giving the new team time to land blows and arrest the morale slide could provide Albanese an advantage as an election edges closer.
But the shuffled deck needs to make an improved showing for Labor to avoid marching into political oblivion yet again.