Ex-Australian PM Kevin Rudd named Foreign Minister
Australia’s Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, has named former leader Kevin Rudd as her Foreign Minister, just weeks after she suddenly replaced him as Prime Minister when he lost the support of his Labor Party colleagues.
"The foreign affairs and defence team will be Kevin Rudd as minister for foreign affairs and Stephen Smith as the minister for defence," said Gillard Saturday.
Gillard, who is at the head of a coalition government, had promised that Rudd would be a senior member of her cabinet if she won re-election.
"There are national interests of this country which extend far beyond the personal interests of any individual. That applies to me as well," Rudd told journalists in Canberra. He was reportedly devastated by his fall from power.
Smith, who will become Defence Minister, served as foreign minister since Rudd led Labor to power in a November 2007 landslide election victory.
No one party received enough seats to have an outright majority in the 21 August, which forced the Labor party and the opposition to find support from independents in order to form a government.
Labor finally managed to do so Tuesday, 17 days after the election, though they hold just two more seats than the opposition.
In her cabinet reshuffle, Gillard appointed Smion Crean as Minister for Regional Australia, to honour promises she had made to secure the backing of country independents.
She said her deputy Wayne Swan would continue as Treasurer, and appointed others who had helped overthrow Rudd.
Senator Penny Wong will take over the Finance Ministry, and Bill Shorten was named assistant Treasurer and Minister for Financial services and Superannuation. Mark Arbib was given the Indigenous Employment, Sport and Social Housing and Homelessness portfolios.
The new government is expected to be sworn in by Governor-General Quentin Bryce in Canberra this week.
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