Tony Abbott was sworn in as Australia’s new Prime Minister on Wednesday and promised immediate action to slow the stream of asylum-seekers arriving by boats from Indonesia and to dismantle the previous administration’s clean energy policies.
Mr. Abbott was the first of 42 government executives to be sworn in by Governor General Quentin Bryce at a ceremony at Government House in Canberra.
“Today is not just a ceremonial day, it’s an action day,” Mr. Abbott said in a statement.
Mr. Abbott also announced that Australia’s contentious new policy on asylum-seekers that includes turning back their boats to Indonesia begins on Wednesday after the swearing in ceremony.
Acting opposition leader Chris Bowen on Wednesday said the plan would cause problems with the countries’ close relationship.
“Mr. Abbott has told us he wants a Jakarta-based foreign policy at the same time as saying to Jakarta we don’t care what you think, this is what we’re doing,” Mr. Bowen told Australian Broadcasting Corp. “This is a recipe, frankly, for ongoing problems in relation to boats arriving in Australia it’s (a) recipe for ongoing dispute with Indonesia about this issue.”
On energy policy, Mr. Abbott plans to order officials to draft legislation that would repeal the unpopular carbon tax imposed on the country’s biggest greenhouse gas emitters.