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Australia's new Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has revealed his cabinet, which includes a record number of women.
Australia's new Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has revealed his new cabinet, with key allies landing key ministerial spots.
Several supporters of Rudd's predecessor, Julia Gillard, were moved to other roles, though not all were demoted.
Rudd, who Gillard accused of misogyny during her time in office, named six new female ministers — giving Australia the most women ministers it's ever had.
The ABC quoted Rudd as saying:
"This is a strong team, I am proud to lead this team. This team has been selected on the basis of merit. I am delighted that in this cabinet of ours, we will have the largest number of women of any cabinet in Australia's history."
Rudd last Wednesday deposed Gillard in a leadership challenge, the third since she deposed him back in 2010. Wednesday's ballot among Labor lawmakers was called by Gillard herself, after months of tension and infighting over her falling popularity ahead of the Sept. 14 general election.
Seven Gillard ministers, many of them experience politicians in key roles, quit their positions in the wake of the leadership ballot.
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Rudd said that he would not exact retribution over those who backed Gillard.
He has stuck to his word in several instances — including in the case of former environment minister Tony Burke, who supported Gillard over Rudd but was moved by Rudd Monday onto the immigration portfolio. The post is a sensitive one as the Australian government tackles the growing problem of asylum seekers arriving by boat.
Burke tried to resign after the party replaced Gillard with Rudd in a leadership spill last week, but Rudd rejected his resignation.
However, Rudd also reinstated several lawmakers who backed him against Gillard in recent times and were demoted as a result, moving them back into key ministries such as trade, agriculture and industry.
Brendan O'Connor, another Gillard supporter, was moved from the Immigration Ministry to the vital portfolio of employment.
Bloomberg quoted a politics lecturer at Monash University in Melbourne, Zareh Ghazarian, as saying:
"The new ministry needs to strike a balance of rewarding Rudd’s allies who have stuck by him for the past three years, and keeping some of Gillard’s backers to prove to voters he can be conciliatory and not vindictive. He doesn’t want to lose all the experienced talent already there because the ranks of senior Labor people have been bled dry."
Rudd, 55, needs to move fast if he is to turn the Labor party into a viable challenger to the conservative coalition led by Tony Abbott at September's election.
His reinstatement has already resulted in a surge of support for the party, according to polls.
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