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Australian PM Gillard announces new cabinet

world Updated: Sep 11, 2010 10:16 IST

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Australian Prime Minister Julian Gillard unveiled her new cabinet on Saturday, with Wayne Swan retaining his treasury portfolio and former climate minister Penny Wong moved to the senior finance portfolio.

Gillard also kept Martin Ferguson in the key resources and energy portfolio, where he will be crucial to pushing through plans for a 30 percent tax on the profits of big iron ore and coal mines.

In other changes, former union leader Greg Combet was promoted into a cabinet position as Minister for Climate Change to replace Wong.

Combet, a political trouble-shooter known for his negotiating skills, faces the task of drawing up a plan to put a price on carbon pollution, blamed for global warming, and finding community consensus for action against climate change.

The new ministry is Gillard's first chance to put her stamp on the government since the ruling Labor Party dumped former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd in late June, as she made only minor changes to the cabinet ahead of the August 21 national elections.

Gillard last week secured a second term in office in the aftermath of last month's close election with the support of three independents and a Green MP. Hers will be the first minority government since World War Two, raising concerns the administration will be unstable and may not run its full term.

In a bid to heal some of the internal tensions over her move against Rudd, Gillard gave the former prime minister the senior role of Foreign Minister in her new government.

Former Foreign Minister Stephen Smith was moved to defence, where he will be responsible for policy on Afghanistan, where Australia has around 1,600 troops. Former Small Business Minister Craig Emerson becomes Trade Minister.