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Australian PM backs Howard

Australia's newly-appointed Prime Minister Julia Gillard today defended John Howard and said labelling the former leader as a racist for his tough immigration policies is complete "nonsense".

world Updated: Jul 04, 2010 19:29 IST

Australia's newly-appointed Prime Minister Julia Gillard on Sunday defended John Howard and said labelling the former leader as a racist for his tough immigration policies is complete "nonsense".

"The suggestion John Howard should be labelled a racist, what a load of nonsense. He's most certainly someone who's not," Gillard said.

Howard's nomination for ICC's vice-president post was recently rejected by Afro-Asian block, which included India, Pakistan, Sri Lankan and Bangladesh.

There is speculation that Howard was rejected for his vocal opposition to the Robert Mugabe regime in Zimbabwe during his tenure as Australian Prime Minister.

However, despite the rejection from the powerful Afro-Asian bloc, Howard refused to withdraw his candidacy for the ICC President's post.

Howard's name was proposed by Australia and New Zealand cricket board and was backed by England at an ICC meeting in Singapore.

The ICC has asked Australia and New Zealand to find another candidate and submit it to the governing body by August 31.