Alexa

Rudd named Australia's foreign minister

Rudd named Australia's foreign minister

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard yesterday named former leader Kevin Rudd as her foreign minister, less than three months after she staged a sudden and ruthless coup against him.
The nation's first woman leader announced the appointment as she made sweeping changes to her cabinet, after last week ensuring her hold on power after elections failed to hand victory outright to her center-left Labor Party.
Gillard, who leads a minority government supported by one Greens MP, two country independents and a former Iraq war whistleblower, had promised that Rudd would be a senior member of her ministry if she won re-election.
"The foreign affairs and defense team will be Kevin Rudd as minister for foreign affairs and Stephen Smith as the minister for defense," Gillard said, ending weeks of speculation concerning the fate of Rudd, a Mandarin-speaking former diplomat known for his interest in global affairs.
Smith, who has served as foreign minister since Rudd led Labor to power in a November 2007 landslide election victory, will become defense minister to fill a vacancy left by John Faulkner's move to the backbench.
Rudd was suddenly ousted as prime minister by Gillard on June 24 after he lost the support of his Labor Party colleagues following a series of policy backflips and as his ratings slipped in the polls.
The 52-year-old, who was reportedly left devastated by his lightning removal from power, said he was honoured to take on the new role.
"There are national interests of this country which extend far beyond the personal interests of any individual. That applies to me as well," he told journalists in Canberra.