Melissa Horne and Jill Hennessy in new cabinet

Jill Hennessy Photo: Jason South

By Goya Dmytryshchak

Altona MP Jill Hennessy has been appointed as Labor’s first female Attorney-General, while rookie Williamstown member Melissa Horne has been elevated straight to the frontbench.

Premier Daniel Andrews on Thursday announced his new cabinet, which will be 50 per cent women.

Ms Hennessy, who has also been made Workplace Safety Minister, will oversee the implementation of tougher bail laws as Attorney-General.

Ms Horne has been appointed Minister for Public Transport and Ports and Freight.

She is only the second woman, after Joan Kirner, to be elected in the seat of Williamstown and was previously a director with the Level Crossing Removal Authority.

She replaces Wade Noonan who retired from politics after 11 years.

Melissa Horne (left) looks on as Daniel Andrews announces Labor’s new cabinet. Photo: Eddie Jim

Ms Hennessy thanked her predecessor Martin Pakula, who she worked with to develop the voluntary assisted dying legislation.

“Being an attorney-general is a great honour and it’s a particular honour to be the 54th Attorney-General in this state,” she said.

“Those of us who have been lawyers in our past lives, before politics, also understand how important this role is from law reform to judicial appointments, but also to making sure our Parliament is putting through the sorts of legislative changes that our community expect. And I look forward to stepping up into the role and responsibility with great gusto, with a deep sense of responsibility and a very strong sense of humility.”

Ms Hennessy paid tribute to retired Liberal MP Jan Wade who became Victoria’s first female attorney-general in 1992.

“I hope my daughters grow up not thinkng that 50 per cent cabinet female membership is a novelty or that a female attorney-general is a novelty,” Ms Hennessy said.

“I hope it becomes the norm and, whilst I’m celebrating that achievement today, I look forward to the day where it’s not a thing.”