Canberra, June 1 (BUS): The new Australian government sworn in on Wednesday includes 13 women, including the first Muslim to hold the position and the second Aboriginal Minister of Indigenous Affairs.
The ceremony, held by Governor-General David Hurley in the capital, Canberra, came 11 days after new Prime Minister Anthony Albanese led the centre-left Labor Party to victory in the election over incumbent Conservatives, the Associated Press reported.
“Proud to lead an inclusive government as diverse as Australia itself,” Albanese wrote on Twitter. “Welcome to all new members of the Labor Party.”
Youth Minister Anne Ali is Australia’s first Muslim minister, while Industry and Science Minister Ed Husick is the first Muslim woman to hold a ministerial position.
Linda Burnie became the first woman, and second Aboriginal person, to hold the position of Secretary of Aboriginal Affairs.
Albanese and Secretary of State Penny Wong were sworn in early last week so that they could travel to Tokyo for a summit with President Joe Biden, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Of the 30 ministers appointed to the new government, nearly half are women. Women also occupied a record 10 positions out of 23 in the primary roles of the Council of Ministers.
With some votes yet to be counted from last month’s election, Labor has secured enough seats to secure an outright majority in the 150-seat House of Representatives.
The Albanese government includes some new faces as well as some lawmakers who served in the previous Labor government that last took office nine years ago.
“We have an abundance of talent on our side in Parliament,” Albanese said, adding that it was “the next most experienced Labor government in our history since the union.”
Albanese had support from an unusual source: British singer-songwriter Billy Bragg.
Bragg wrote on Twitter that he woke up to find that “the new Prime Minister of Australia conveyed my words at his first press conference”.
Bragg went on to say he wasn’t surprised that he had been friends with the Albanese for more than 20 years after they met at a Sydney theater and bonded over a shared love of music and compassionate politics.
“The challenges he faces are daunting and I do not envy him for his success,” Bragg wrote. “Some of us just sing about making the world a better place – now it’s up to us to keep that promise.”