Australia's Rudd names cabinet, signals change

Australia's prime minister-elect Kevin Rudd unveiled his cabinet Thursday, prioritising education, industrial relations and the environment in a break with conservative predecessor John Howard's legacy.

Australia's Rudd names cabinet, signals change
Calling it "a team with fresh ideas", Rudd included four women and a former rock star in the cabinet, gave two posts to the environment and moved to quash claims that he would be irresponsible with the booming economy.

"This is a team for the future. This is a team which I have selected," Rudd told a news conference, after choosing the cabinet personally rather than bowing to the Labor Party tradition of accommodating factional demands.

"I've been elected as prime minister of the country, my job's to put forward the best team for governing the country and I've done that," Rudd said.

He put education at the core of his plans by appointing his deputy prime minister Julia Gillard to the education portfolio.

She also took the industrial relations ministry to oversee the reversal of Howard's criticised workplace reforms, which helped to bring down the veteran conservative leader after 11 years in power.

Labor party strategist Stephen Smith was named as foreign minister, giving a new voice to the vast state of Western Australia, while former party leader Simon Crean was named to the trade portfolio.

The new 20-member cabinet would be sworn in on Monday, along with 10 non-cabinet ministers, Rudd said, as he named close ally Wayne Swan as treasurer and made Lindsay Tanner finance minister.

He stressed they had already started work, after the previous government claimed during the election campaign that he would ruin the economy.

"Wayne and Lindsay have already got down to work with the treasury and finance departments briefing papers and we will be meeting with those officials from those departments next week to begin the early work of framing the budget for the year 2008," Rudd said.

Former rock star Peter Garrett was named as environment minister, but after a series of gaffes during the campaign he lost the critical area of climate change.

That went to Penny Wong, who took on a separate role as minister for climate change, a key election issue.

Rudd said Wong would lead negotiations relating to the Kyoto Protocol, which he plans to quickly ratify, leaving the US isolated as the only major country not to have signed it.

"Penny will have responsibility for our international negotiations on Kyoto and Kyoto Plus, she will have responsibility for the negotiations of our domestic emissions trading regime," Rudd said.

Both Garrett and Wong would accompany Rudd to the Indonesian island of Bali next month for international climate change talks, the prime minister-elect said.

Joel Fitzgibbon was named to the defence portfolio, likely to be dominated by Rudd's plans to withdraw Australian troops from Iraq.

The plans could lead to a less cozy relationship with US President George W. Bush than Howard enjoyed.

Labor's leader in the upper house Senate, Chris Evans, was appointed as minister for immigration and citizenship.

Rudd said border security was an important issue -- a reference to Howard's campaign against illegal asylum seekers.

Former foreign affairs spokesman Robert McClelland was appointed as attorney general, while the indigenous affairs portfolio went to Jenny Macklin, who will handle a controversial intervention in indigenous communities in the remote Northern Territory.

Former television journalist Maxine McKew, who is widely thought to have defeated Howard in his Sydney seat of Bennelong, was named parliamentary secretary to the prime minister.


Agencies

Güncelleme Tarihi: 29 Kasım 2007, 18:19
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