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Australia's prime minister brings back Rudd to Cabinet

By John Raedler, CNN
Australian PM Julia Gillard announces her new ministry for the Labor Government Saturday in Melbourne.
Australian PM Julia Gillard announces her new ministry for the Labor Government Saturday in Melbourne.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Rudd had been ousted as prime minister
  • Rudd campaigned for Gillard during recent election
  • Rudd's experience in foreign affairs should help him in new position

(CNN) -- Australia's Prime Minister Julia Gillard has brought back into her government, in a senior cabinet post, the man she overthrew in June.

Announcing her ministry in Melbourne Saturday, Gillard named Kevin Rudd as foreign affairs minister.

Gillard, who was Rudd's deputy prime minister in June, toppled him from the top job during a power struggle within the Labor government. At the time Rudd's popularity had been tumbling.

Soon after, Gillard called an election for August -- the outcome of which was decided only this week when the support of two independent members of parliament enabled Labor to retain government with a 76-74 majority.

Although relations between them have been obviously strained, Rudd supported Gillard during the election campaign and retained his own seat in the parliament.

Gillard had said that if Labor won the election she would offer Rudd a senior cabinet post and she has kept her word.

Rudd, a career diplomat before entering parliament, is ideally suited to the foreign affairs portfolio. He is fluent in Mandarin and did a diplomatic stint in China, which is now Australia's biggest export market.

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Australia's booming exports of raw materials to China have played a major part in Australia avoiding recession during the worldwide economic turmoil of recent years.

During his prime ministership Rudd was also widely reported to have established good working relationships with U.S. President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The Australia-U.S. military alliance, known as the ANZUS Pact, is considered vital to Australia's security.

Stephen Smith, who had been foreign affairs minister under both Rudd and Gillard, now becomes defense minister.

In other announcements Saturday, singer-turned-politician, Peter Garrett has been demoted in the new Australian cabinet.

A member of the Australian parliament since 2004, Garrett was appointed minister for the environment when Labor won government in 2007.

Gillard has named him minister for the youth, schools and early childhood in her new cabinet.

Garrett is the former lead singer with the Australian rock band Midnight Oil.

 
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