Earlier this week, Labor leader Kevin Rudd was talking up the prospects of ACTU boss Greg Combet entering Parliament. 

“I’ve said to Greg Combet more times than I can remember that I would like to see him in the nation’s Parliament,” Rudd said. “I think he is a first-class human being, I think his work with James Hardie has been first-class, and I have always found him to be a rational interlocutor when it comes to dealing with the big economic and industrial challenges of the age.”

Rudd said he would intervene to secure Combet a seat — just as he has for Maxine McKew in Bennelong and former Labor national secretary Gary Gray in Kim Beazley’s old electorate Perth seat of Brand. “I will do so again if I make a judgement that this is necessary for the party.”

Then for good measure, he added that Combet would go onto the frontbench after the election — alongside the other union star recruit, Bill Shorten.

Rudd’s already got a challenging enough task, managing the relationship between the ALP and the union movement — let alone presenting it to the public. But he also has some relationships on his current frontbench he needs to manage, Crikey understands.

He’s said Combet and Shorten are starters. Gray would have to be on the shortlist. And McKew’s communication skills — not to mention gender issues — must make her another contender.

That’s up to four frontbench places that could change in the Reps. Rudd seems to have created a shadow shadow ministry. Who will be the losers? Some shadows who can sniff electoral victory in the breeze are getting a little concerned that their next Parliament House offices mightn’t be in the Min Wing.