Australia’s new government includes a record 13 female ministers

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Australia’s new government sworn in on Wednesday includes a record 13 women, including the first Muslim woman to hold the post and the second Indigenous person appointed Minister of Indigenous Affairs.

The ceremony hosted by Governor-General David Hurley in the capital, Canberra, came 11 days after new Prime Minister Anthony Albanese led the centre-left Labor Party to an election victory over the incumbent Conservatives.

“Proud to lead an inclusive government as diverse as Australia itself,” Albanese wrote on Twitter. “Welcome to all these new Labor members.”

Youth Minister Anne Aly is Australia’s first female Muslim cabinet minister, while Industry and Science Minister Ed Husic is the first Muslim to serve in Cabinet.

Linda Burney became the first woman, and only the second Indigenous person, to serve as Minister of Indigenous Affairs.

Albanian and Foreign Minister Penny Wong was sworn in early last week so she could fly to Tokyo for a summit with President Joe Biden, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Of the 30 ministers appointed to the new government, almost half are women. Women also hold a record 10 out of 23 positions in key Cabinet roles.

With a few votes still to be counted from last month’s election, Labor secured enough seats to hold an outright majority in the 150-seat House.

Albanese’s cabinet includes new faces as well as lawmakers who served in the previous Labor government which was in power nine years ago.

“We have an overflow of talent on our side of parliament,” Albanese said, adding that “this is the most experienced new Labor government in our history since the federation.”

Albanese received support from an unusual source: British singer-songwriter Billy Bragg.

Bragg wrote on Twitter that he woke up to find “Australia’s new Prime Minister quoted my words at his first press conference”.

Bragg went on to say he was not surprised as he has been friends with Albanese for over 20 years after they met at a theater in Sydney and bonded over a shared love of music and a compassionate policy.

“The challenges he faces are daunting and I do not envy him his success,” Bragg wrote. “Some of us just sing to make the world a better place – now he has a responsibility to deliver on that promise.”

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