Australian PM Julia Gillard unveils reshuffled Cabinet
Canberra: Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard unveiled the reshuffled Cabinet on Monday, a week after party rivals asked her to step down and clear the way for former leader Kevin Rudd to head the government.
Gillard called the leadership mess that brought the intra-government turmoil to the fore “appalling”.
Gillard had called a leadership vote of the Labor Party on Thursday after party rivals asked her to step aside for Rudd to head the minority government to stave off election defeat in September.
Five ministers resigned or were sacked from their executive jobs for promoting a challenge by Gillard’s predecessor Kevin Rudd that failed when he decided against running on the ballot within the ruling Labor Party. After last week’s fiasco, Rudd said he would not seek the Labor Party leadership again.
‘‘It was an unseemly display,’’ she said. ‘‘Today as a government we can be united and with a sense of purpose,’’ she added.
Most of the lawmakers whom Gillard promoted were known loyalists in the longstanding rivalry between Gillard and Rudd.
The Resources and Energy Ministry, crucial to Australia’s mining-oriented economy, was given to Special Minister of State Gary Gray, a former gas company executive from resource-rich Western Australia state. The position had been filled to acclaim by Rudd supporter Martin Ferguson since the Labor government was first elected under Rudd’s leadership in 2007, as per a news agency report.
Transport Minister Anthony Albanese stayed, even though he had been tipped to be deputy prime minister if Rudd regained the leadership. Reports have said ministers urged Albanese not to resign because he was too important to the government.
Gillard promoted Albanese by giving him the portfolios Regional Development and Local Government. Those ministries had been held by Simon Crean, whom Gillard dumped for publicly calling for a leadership ballot.
Foreign Minister Bob Carr, who has denied media reports that he had been prepared to back a Rudd challenge, remained in his post.
Dumping Carr would have been a high-profile embarrassment for Australia since he is due to meet US Vice-President Joe Biden at the White House later Monday.
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