Tony Abbott sworn in as Australia prime minister

 

Australia's Prime Minister Tony Abbott in 90 seconds

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Tony Abbott has been sworn in as Australia's prime minister, days after his Liberal-National coalition ended six years of Labor government.

Mr Abbott, 55, took the oath at Government House in Canberra in front of Governor-General Quentin Bryce.

His conservative coalition won a comfortable lower house majority in the 7 September polls.

It plans to scrap a tax on carbon emissions introduced by Labor and further toughen asylum policy.

Ahead of Wednesday's ceremony, Mr Abbott said his government would get to work immediately.

"Today is not just a ceremonial day, it's an action day," he said. "The Australian people expect us to get straight down to business and that's exactly what this government will do."

The new ministers were also being sworn in during the day. His 19-member cabinet line-up has caused debate because it contains only one woman, new Foreign Minister Julie Bishop.

Mr Abbott, however, says his cabinet is "one of the most experienced incoming ministries in our history".

'Stop the boats'

The new prime minister said on Tuesday that the carbon tax would be his first task.

Tony Abbott

  • Leader of Liberal Party and Liberal-National coalition
  • Born 1957 in UK to Australian parents
  • Former student boxer and Catholic priest trainee
  • Economics and law graduate and Rhodes scholar
  • Held employment, and health and ageing portfolios under Howard government
  • Took over flagging Liberal-National coalition in December 2009
  • Pledges to repeal mining and carbon taxes, and give mothers up to 26 weeks leave, on full pay

"As soon as I return to Parliament House from the swearing-in ceremony, I will instruct the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet to prepare the carbon tax repeal legislation," he said in a statement.

He says the carbon tax - which makes Australia's biggest polluters pay for emissions over a certain amount - cost jobs and forced energy prices up.

Instead of the tax, he plans to introduce a "direct action" plan under which subsidies will be given to farmers and businesses to reduce their emissions.

The position of science minister and a fund providing loans for green technologies are to be scrapped. Two official bodies related to climate change are also expected to be closed, local reports say.

The moves that has prompted criticism from Australia's chief scientist, Professor Ian Chubb. "These sorts of issues are not going away just because we ignore them," he told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

The new prime minister also says tough new policies to end the flow of asylum-seekers arriving in Australia via Indonesia will come into effect today.

Under a Labor policy, all asylum-seekers arriving by boat are being sent to Papua New Guinea for processing and resettlement if found to be refugees.

Mr Abbott is maintaining this policy and has promised to "stop the boats" - turning them back to Indonesia where safe to do so, a policy over which Indonesia has voiced concern.

He is expected to place the deputy chief of the army in charge of combating people smugglers, and his government will also restrict refugees already in Australia to temporary protection visas which must be regularly renewed.

Rights groups have criticised both the previous and incoming governments' policies on asylum.

But - with some votes still to be counted from the 7 September election - it appears that the coalition will not control the Senate, meaning it may struggle to pass key legislation.

It is expected that the new government will have to work with several minor parties to get bills passed in the upper house.

The Labor Party, meanwhile, is in the process of choosing a new leader, with both former deputy prime minister Anthony Albanese and powerbroker Bill Shorten vying to replace Kevin Rudd, who is stepping down.

 

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  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 176.

    With Abbott in charge; Australia can be really classed as "Down Under"!

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 175.

    169.The Smoking Gnu
    "The Maastricht Treaty has been amended by the treaties of Amsterdam, Nice and Lisbon. See also Treaties of the European Union."
    It's not the beast it was meant to be. And the EU wasn't what is was back in 92. So please, DON'T pick and choose dear...Just lay the Facts on the Table and let others decide...

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 174.

    173.rrrobs
    Eradicate you mean?
    172.Rhyfelwyr
    @171 - 'irradicate' means 'to root deeply'.
    ********
    Thanks, been a long day. Australia for me. Sounds good over there.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 173.

    Eradicate you mean?

    Dim wittedness can't be eradicated I'm afraid.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 172.

    @171 - 'irradicate' means 'to root deeply'.

    Is this really what you meant? :)

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 171.

    170.rrrobs

    Democracy = will of the dim witted majority.

    We didn't ship you out to Australia for nothing a few centuries back.

    *************

    The democratic reasoned voice of the left speaks again. If people don't agree with you, irradicate them. Many who speak on here could be the next Stalin.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 170.

    Democracy = will of the dim witted majority.

    We didn't ship you out to Australia for nothing a few centuries back.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 169.

    168. squirrel
    "The Ausie people have spoken, it's called Democracy. You know, something that was 'overlooked' by Labour when it railroaded Britain into the EU"

    I could have sworn Ted Heath (under whom the UK joined the EC) and John Major (who ratified the Maastricht Treaty) were both Tories, but you seem to know what you're talking about. I expect you're right....

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 168.

    What's that? The lefty brigade who advocate a free for all global movement of people don't like it when someone who disagrees with them gets into power? The Ausie people have spoken, it's called Democracy. You know, something that was 'overlooked' by Labour when it railroaded Britain into the EU - the same as ze Germans were - by Socialists. Get used to it, your time of PC dictatorships is gone.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 167.

    159.Quo Vadis
    @158. Mudfish88
    I voted for Tony Abbott when he said the words "Australia will decide who comes to Australia" good on yer cobber!
    ----------------
    "He's a sock puppet for Murdoch."

    -------------------

    As Mudfish88 said "good on yer cobber!"

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 166.

    A country without a Minister for Science in the 21st century! No wonder that's us -OZs. What is science to a ..............................?

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 165.

    "154. Bradford
    We will vote for people who we think will actually do something about immigration & the forced march toward multiculturalism."

    lol no we wont. Most people have such ingrained preconceptions about the two main political parties that they vote for the party who they identify with regardless of any actual policies. The rest of the voters vote for whoever is not currently in power...

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 164.

    The most bureaucratic nation in the world, probably spending more on politics per head than any other nation in the world.

    They have rules on rules. A procedure for everything. A penalty for every petty misdemeanour you could imagine.

    They only have 2 industries in Australia, mining and Government.

    Big ears wont make any difference!

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 163.

    Australia had unprecedented periods of freaky weather in the last years.
    Periods of extreme drought and in other areas severe flooding.

    Good luck with that!

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 162.

    114. Bob
    "So there is an absolute right to claim asylum is there?
    Is there also one to deny it?"

    Of course. If an asylum seeker cannot show that they qualify for refugee status their application will be refused. There's also an organisation which resettles refugees in their countries of origin if it's safe for them to return. It's called the International Organisation for Migration.

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 161.

    Looking forward to somebody finally addressing the mudslum infestation. Hey, Abbott... Take a look at how China deals with their own mudslum infestation (approximately 20 million and decreasing :)

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/19/world/asia/raid-xinjiang-china.html

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 160.

    He'll et my support if the first thing he does is repatriate his countryman & all round global bad guy (worthy of a role as a Bond villain - oh wait, they already used that idea.....) Rupert Murdoch....


    ....his disgusting papers are nearly as bad as the Daily Mail (not as bad - if you think they're worse go look at all the soft porn on the DM website).....

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 159.

    @158. Mudfish88

    I voted for Tony Abbott when he said the words "Australia will decide who comes to Australia" good on yer cobber!

    -----------------

    He's a sock puppet for Murdoch.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 158.

    I voted for Tony Abbott when he said the words "Australia will decide who comes to Australia" good on yer cobber!

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 157.

    It seems to me that Jon Donnison the BBC guy in Sydney is hanging out with some Labor party or union apparatchiks. His news dispatches are tainted with perceptions about Tony Abbott when this guy has managed what very few politicians are able to: to take over a defeated opposition that consists of parties who even challenge each other in some seats and give them such a resounding victory.

 

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