Returning Prime Minister Kevin Rudd on Monday named a record number of women to an Australian cabinet, after deposing Julia Gillard in an internal putsch last week.

Gillard, the nation’s first female premier, replaced Rudd in similar fashion three years ago.

“When you find people of merit, whether they’re women or men, they should be promoted,” Rudd said after his new team was sworn in.

An opinion poll conducted after Rudd’s ascension showed his beleaguered Labour Party gaining a bounce in support. But it said Tony Abbott’s conservative coalition would still win if a parliamentary election were held now.

John McTernan, Gillard’s former communications director, blamed “deep-rooted misogynist forces” for last week’s ructions that reflected a “very powerful sense of mateship, of male values and a male-inscribed culture.” Ms. Gillard will not stand at the next parliamentary election.

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