'Gen X' shake-up in Australian Labor party

SYDNEY (AFP) - Australian Labor party leader Bill Shorten announced his shadow ministry on Friday, saying it was a break from the past and included more people from "Generation X" than ever before.

The centre-left party has been riven by bitter infighting and is hoping for a fresh start under former union leader Shorten, 46, and his deputy Tanya Plibersek, 43, who was appointed health minister by former prime minister Julia Gillard.

Ms Plibersek is now opposition spokeswoman on foreign affairs, while Mr Chris Bowen, 40, is shadow treasurer and Mr Anthony Albanese, 50, is spokesman for infrastructure, transport and tourism.

"There is more Gen X in this shadow line-up than has existed before in Australian politics," Mr Shorten said.

"But this is balanced... with both experience in government and in opposition."

Mr Richard Marles has taken on the role of spokesman on immigration and border protection while former finance minister Penny Wong moves to trade and investment, and Mr Stephen Conroy assumes defence.

Close to half of the opposition ministry are women and many have young children.

Generation-X tend to be the children of baby boomers and the Australian Bureau of Statistics, which groups them with the slightly younger Generation Y, places them as being born between 1966 and 1986.

Labor has endured a turbulent period since winning power under then leader Kevin Rudd in 2007. Mr Rudd was dumped by the party in his first term in favour of Ms Gillard, while a 2010 election ended in a hung parliament.

Mr Rudd was re-installed as leader in 2013 over Ms Gillard in a bid to salvage national elections but he was unable to save the party from defeat and conservative Prime Minister Tony Abbott won comfortably.

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