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Updated: September 13, 2010 01:48 IST

Cabinet post for Kevin Rudd

P. S. Suryanarayana
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Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard with Deputy Labour leader Wayne Swan. She on Saturday announced her new cabinet for the Labour Government.
AP
Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard with Deputy Labour leader Wayne Swan. She on Saturday announced her new cabinet for the Labour Government.

The former Australian Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, gets the Foreign Affairs portfolio in Julia Gillard's new minority government.

Mr. Rudd ceased to be Prime Minister when Ms. Gillard toppled him in a political coup within the ruling Australian Labour Party several weeks before seeking a mandate for herself in a snap general election on August 21. The election produced the country's first hung Parliament in nearly seven decades. But she secured the support of three Independents and a Greens member through negotiations and clinched by September 7 two seats more than the opposition in the 150-member House of Representatives.

Announcing her Cabinet line-up in such unusual circumstances, Ms. Gillard on Saturday placed Mr. Rudd in the third position behind Wayne Swan, who retained his place as Deputy Prime Minister and the Treasurer. Stephen Smith, who served as Foreign Minister in Mr. Rudd's Cabinet as also Ms. Gillard's first Ministry, was now shifted to Defence.

While announcing on September 7 that she would form a minority government, Ms. Gillard publicly stated she had offered Rob Oakeshott, Independent supporter, a new Ministry of Regional Australia. In the event, Mr. Oakeshott and the other two Independent supporters, Tony Windsor and Andrew Wilkie, have not joined her new Cabinet.

Regional diplomats and observers paid greater attention, though, to the likely equation between Ms. Gillard and Mr. Rudd, who, as Prime Minister, had sought a big international role for himself by proposing the creation of a new Asia Pacific community. He is also known for his fluency in Mandarin.

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