South Australia Labor Premier Appoints Ministers to Cabinet Portfolios

The new Labor cabinet appointed by Premier Peter Malinauskas has been announced – The 15-strong ministry was sworn in at Government House by Governor Frances Adamson this morning.

Two surprise additions have been former federal Labor politician Nick Champion and independent Geoff Brock. Mr Brock formerly served under the Weatherill Government after his support allowed Labor to return to power as a minority government in 2014.

The Malinauskas Government holds power without Mr Brock’s support, but his inclusion shores up parliamentary support and adds regional clout to the ministry. Mr Brock resumes as local government minister, a role he previously held in the Weatherill government, while Mr Champion has been appointed housing and planning minister. The other appointments were widely expected and largely based on Mr Malinauskas’ Opposition frontbench.

Four new ministers – Katrine Hildyard, Nat Cook, Andrea Michaels and Kyam Maher — had to be sworn in by video links because they were in isolation.

The newly sworn in Ministers and their portfolios:

Peter Malinauskas –


Mr Malinauskas was the state secretary of the Shop Distributive and Allied Employees Association before entering the Legislative Council in 2015. He then moved to the Legislative Assembly, replacing former attorney-general Michael Atkinson as the Labor MP for Croydon. Mr Malinauskas was minister for police and correctional services in the Weatherill government before becoming health minister. He became the state leader of the Labor Party following the 2018 election.

Susan Close –

Deputy Premier

Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science

Minister for Defence and Space Industries

Minister for Climate, Environment and Water

A former public servant, Dr Close was an environment activist before joining state parliament, helping to establish the Port River dolphin sanctuary. She was the minister for education and child development, higher education and skills in the Weatherill and deputy opposition leader following the 2018 election.

Stephen Mullighan –


The son of late Supreme Court judge Ted Mullighan, Mr Mullighan worked for Deloittes before becoming an adviser in the Weatherill government. He worked for former attorney-general John Rau and treasurer Kevin Foley and was deputy chief of staff to former premier Jay Weatherill. Mr Mullighan was transport and infrastructure minister before becoming Labor treasury spokesman following Labor’s 2018 election loss.

Kyam Maher –

Attorney General

Minister for Aboriginal Affairs

Minister for Industrial Relations and Public Sector

A qualified lawyer, Mr Mayer worked in the Crown Solicitor’s Office before becoming chief of staff to former Labor regional affairs, Aboriginal affairs and correctional services minister Terry Roberts in 2002. He was Labor Party state secretary before entering the Legislative Council in 2012.

Tom Koutsantonis –

Minister for Infrastructure and Transport

Minister for Energy and Mining

Mr Koutsantonis was raised by Greek migrants in Adelaide’s western suburbs. He worked as a taxi driver, small business owner and operated his parents’ chicken shop before becoming an industrial officer with the Shop Distributive and Allied Employees’ Association. Mr Koutsantonis was appointed road safety minister following the resignation of independent Rory McEwen from the Rann Government cabinet in 2009. He then was promoted to transport and infrastructure minister and later became treasurer and minister for finance and state development in the Weatherill government.

Chris Picton –

Minister for Health and Wellbeing

Mr Picton worked in public policy before joining former Labor health minister John Hill as an adviser and his chief of staff. He was appointed police, correctional services, emergency services and road safety minister in 2017. Mr Picton has been Labor health spokesman since 2018.

Zoe Bettison –

Minister for Tourism

Minister for Multicultural Affairs

Ms Bettison worked for rail operator Great Southern Rail and lobbyists Hawker Britton before her election to state parliament in 2012 in the seat of Ramsey, replacing former Labor premier Mike Rann. She was an organiser with the Shop Distributive and Allied Employees Association and Northern Territory ALP state secretary before entering state parliament. Ms Bettison was communities and social inclusion, social housing, multicultural affairs, ageing, youth, veteran affairs and volunteers minister in the Weatherill Labor government.

Katrine Hildyard –

Minister for Child Protection

Minister for Women and Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence

Minister for Recreation, Sport and Racing

Ms Hildyard worked for former Labor senator Nick Bolkus and the Australian Services Union before entering state parliament in 2014. A parliamentary secretary to Mr Weatherill and ALP state president, she was appointed disabilities minister in 2017.

Nat Cook –

Minister for Human Services

Ms Cook entered parliament in 2014 when she won a by-election to replace long serving Liberal and independent MP Bob Such. An anti-violence campaigner following the death of her son, Ms Cook was parliamentary secretary for housing and urban development in the Weatherill government.

Clare Scriven –

Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development

Minister for Forest Industries

Raised in Mt Gambier, Ms Scriven was Australian Forests Products Association state manager. She became a member of the Legislative Council in 2018.

Blair Boyer –

Minister for Education, Training and Skills

Mr Boyer was a senior adviser to former Labor premier Jay Weatherill and chief of staff to former Labor human services minister Jennifer Rankine.

Joe Szakacs –

Minister for Police, Emergency Services and Correctional Services

Mr Szakacs was SA Unions secretary for six years before taking the seat of Cheltenham in a 2019 by-election. A qualified lawyer, he also worked for Australian Manufacturing Workers Union and Fire Fighters’ Union. Mr Szakacs was a champion swimmer, representing Australia at international competitions.

Nick Champion –

Minister for Trade and Investment

Minister for Housing and Urban Development

Minister for Planning

Mr Champion is a former union official who switched from federal parliament to successfully contest the northern suburbs seat of Taylor in last weekend’s election. He and Peter Malinauskas both worked for the Shop Distributive and Allied Employees’ Association. Mr Champion is a former ALP state president and adviser in the government of former Labor premier Mike Rann.

Andrea Michaels –

Minister for Small and Family Business

Minister for Consumer and Business Affairs

Minister for Arts

A practising lawyer, Ms Michaels was elected to the seat of Enfield during a by-election in 2019 following the resignation of former Labor deputy premier, planning minister and attorney-general John Rau in December 2018. Ms Michaels was appointed as the Labor spokeswoman for small and family business, consumer and business affairs, planning and urban development, and housing in 2020.

Geoff Brock –

Minister for Local Government

Minister for Regional Roads

Minister for Veterans Affairs

Mr Brock was working in the Port Pirie aluminium smelter when he became a local councillor in 1989, later being elected mayor. He entered state parliament in 2009 by-election for the seat of Frome in a shock result, holding the seat as an independent until last weekend, when he successfully contested the seat of Stuart, beating Liberal Dan van Holst Pellekaan.

Source: Apprentice Employment Network – South Australia