Australia’s Prime Minister Albanese appoints record number of women to diverse cabinet

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australia’s new federal ministry was sworn in on Wednesday, with Prime Minister Anthony Albanese appointing a record number of women to a diverse cabinet team that includes religious minorities and indigenous Aborigines.

A total of 10 women have been included in Albanese’s 23-member cabinet, surpassing the seven in the previous Liberal-National coalition government led by Scott Morrison.

Industry Minister Ed Husic and Youth Minister Anne Aly became Australia’s first Muslim federal ministers at a ceremony in the nation’s capital, Canberra, while Linda Burney, wearing a skin cape kangaroo, became the first Aboriginal woman to hold the ministry of Indigenous Australians.

Albanese formed an interim ministry, which included 4 other key members, two days after the May 21 election so he could attend a Quad Group meeting in Tokyo, attended by US President Joe Biden and leaders of Japan and from India.

Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles – who was in the interim ministry with Penny Wong in foreign affairs, Jim Chalmers as treasurer and Katy Gallagher in finance – was given the defense portfolio.

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Don Farrell is the new trade minister and Tanya Plibersek the environment minister, while Clare O’Neil will be in charge of home affairs and Chris Bowen takes energy.

Former Labor leader Bill Shorten will be Minister of Government Services.

Albanese said on Tuesday Labor would govern on its own, claiming 77 seats in the 151-seat lower house, leaving it to form a majority government without support from independents and the climate-focused Greens.

Securing a majority reduces the risk of Labor having to negotiate with 16 cross MPs to pass legislation, although it will still need to win additional support for the legislation in the upper house of parliament.

(Reporting by Renju Jose; editing by Richard Pullin)

Copyright 2022 Thomson Reuters.

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