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New Australian PM packs cabinet with women

Record number of 11 women find place in Kevin Rudd's cabinet, up from nine in previous government of Julia Gillard.

Last Modified: 01 Jul 2013 00:48
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Rudd wrested back the Labor Party leadership three years after losing it to Gillard [Reuters]

New Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has unveiled his cabinet, bringing in a record number of women and switching the focus to the economy.

"I am delighted that in this cabinet of ours we will have the largest number of women in any cabinet in Australian history," Rudd announced on Monday.

Rudd had wrested back the leadership of the Labor Party on Wednesday, three years after losing it to intra-party rival Julia Gillard.

But with Labor trailing badly in the polls, the party dumped Gillard and has seen an immediate popularity bounce.

Victorian senator Jacinta Collins enters the cabinet as minister for mental health, Catherine King will be minister for regional Australia and Julie Collins takes the portfolios of housing, homeless and the status of women.

The number of women in the cabinet climbs from nine under Gillard to 11.

Rudd said the appointments were made purely on merit, not gender, and pledged to boost the economy.

"The core task of this Australian government is to keep the economy strong," he said.

Rudd pledged to work for a "stronger, fairer Australia ... and never ever, ever allow the fair-go to be thrown out the backdoor."

The cabinet was due to be sworn in Monday afternoon and hold a first meeting later in the day."

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