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New Australian cabinet: Most women, first Muslim sworn in

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Melbourne: Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd Monday unveiled his new cabinet, including a record number of six women, along with the first ever Muslim in the country's parliament.

Governor-General Quentin Bryce swore in the ministers Monday afternoon before a first cabinet meeting in Canberra.

Rudd named six women to his cabinet, the largest number in Australian parliamentary history.

In another first, 43-year-old Ed Husic was elevated to a senior role and named parliament secretary to the Prime Minister as he became the first ever Muslim to be sworn on to a federal government frontbench.

Rudd said he wanted the "best players on the field" and his new ministry has been chosen on merit and it outpoints the opposition on quality and experience, local media reported. He pledged to work for a "stronger, fairer Australia... and never ever, ever allow the fair-go to be thrown out the backdoor."

The women ministers include newcomers Jacinta Collins as minister of Mental Health and Ageing, Tasmanian MP Julie Collins as minister for housing, Homelessnes and status of Women and Catherine King as minister for Regional Australia.

Rudd Monday said women in his ministry were there based on their talents, not their gender.

(Courtesy: The Indian Express)
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