Asia-Pacific

Australia PM Julia Gillard announces cabinet‎

PM Julia Gillard and Treasurer Wayne Swan Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Gillard said Swan would stay as treasurer

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard has named her cabinet, four days after returning to power with a tiny majority backed by independent MPs.

Kevin Rudd, the man she displaced as Labor party leader two months before the election, becomes foreign minister.

Former Foreign Minister Stephen Smith moves to defence.

Penny Wong, who had a troubled spell as climate change minister under Mr Rudd, becomes finance minister.

Ms Gillard's deputy, Wayne Swan, remains as treasurer.

Presenting her cabinet choices, Ms Gillard said: "This is delivering on the focus that I agreed with the independents in the house of representatives, it is delivering on a promise to regional Australia to focus on their needs."

The support of two rural MPs, Rob Oakeshott and Tony Windsor, gave Ms Gillard's Labor party its wafer-thin majority, after several weeks of talks following inconclusive election.

A "regional package" worth A$9.9bn ($9bn; £5.9bn) was critical in securing their support.

Ms Gillard plans a broadband network for rural areas, a 30% tax on iron ore and coal mining companies' profits, and a tax on major polluters to help cut carbon emissions by 5% by 2020.

Chris Bowen becomes minister for immigration, a key portfolio in a country where asylum seekers arriving off Australia's vast coastline by boat have become a major political issue.

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