Kevin Rudd sworn-in as Australia`s new PM post Gillard`s ouster

Last Updated: Thursday, June 27, 2013 - 09:37

Zee Media Bureau

Sydney: Three years and three days after he was ousted by Julia Gillard as PM, Kevin Rudd returned to the job as he was sworn-in as the new Prime Minister of Australia to lead the Labor party in run up to the September 14 elections.

Rudd ousted Australia’s first female PM Julia Gillard as leader of the Labor Party on Wednesday, in a dramatic leadership vote which saw Rudd clinching 57 votes to Gillard’s 45.

Gillard tendered her resignation as prime minister Wednesday night and said that she would leave politics.

Taking the oath at Government House in front of Governor-General Quentin Bryce, the 55 year old leader said, “I will do my absolute best".

Earlier on Wednesday after winning the vote against Gillard, Rudd said, he took the challenge with "an important sense of energy and purpose".

"Why am I taking on this challenge? For me it`s pretty basic, it`s pretty clear. I simply do not have it in my nature to stand idly by and to allow an Abbott government to come to power in this country by default," he said.

Anthony Albanese was sworn in as deputy prime minister and Chris Bowen was sworn in as treasurer during the same ceremony. Rudd has yet say when he will announce his complete Cabinet after seven ministers resigned following Gillard`s ouster.

Rudd faces a potential no-confidence vote in Parliament, which he will likely survive although a loss could trigger an election as early as Aug. 3.

While Rudd has the support of his party, he does not necessarily have the support of a majority of lawmakers in the 150-seat House of Representatives, which a prime minister must have.

Rudd’s return as the leader of Labor Party comes at a time when less than 100 days are left for the elections which are scheduled for September 14.

He faces the tough task of leading his party to elections which the opinion polls say, are slated to bring a definite defeat to Labor.

Acting Solicitor-General Robert Orr wrote to Bryce that Rudd should be commissioned as prime minister.

Bryce`s secretary Stephen Brady wrote that she wanted an assurance from Rudd "that he will announce his appointment at the first possible opportunity to the House of Representatives on order to give the House the opportunity for whatever, if any, action it chooses to take."

Rudd plans to make a statement on the subject to Parliament later Thursday.

Rudd had warned that Labor was facing its worst election defeat under Gillard`s leadership in the 111-year history of the Australian federation.

Gillard lacked Rudd`s charisma, and although many Labor lawmakers preferred her style, her deepening unpopularity among voters compelled a majority to seek a change ahead of looming elections.

Labor has depended on independents and a minor party for its fragile ruling coalition, but Rudd appeared capable of retaining it after two independent lawmakers who did not back Gillard`s government said they would support his.

With Agency Inputs

First Published: Thursday, June 27, 2013 - 09:21
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