Belfast Telegraph

Friday 26 December 2014

Abbott sworn in as Australia's PM

Tony Abbott has been sworn in as Australia's prime minister (AP)
Tony Abbott has been sworn in as Australia's prime minister (AP)

Tony Abbott was sworn in as Australia's new prime minister and promised immediate action to slow the stream of asylum seekers arriving by boats from Indonesia and to repeal an unpopular carbon tax levied by the previous administration.

He was the first of 42 government executives to be sworn in by Governor General Quentin Bryce at a ceremony at Government House in the capital Canberra.

He has been criticised for including only one woman in his 19-member Cabinet, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop - although she will be Australia's first woman named to that post.

His conservative party defeated former prime minister Kevin Rudd's center-left Labour Party in the September 7 elections.

"We are determined to honour our commitments to scrap the carbon tax, to stop the boats, to get the budget under control and to build the roads of the 21st century," Mr Abbott told the ceremony.

"We aim to be a calm, measured, steady and purposeful government that says what it means and does what it says."

Mr Abbott also announced that Australia's controversial new policy on asylum seekers that includes turning back their boats to Indonesia would begin immediately after the swearing in ceremony.

Australia has seen an increase in the number of such asylum seekers from Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Vietnam and other countries, many of whom pay smugglers up to £6,300 to get them to Australia from Indonesian ports

The incoming government announced yesterday that deputy army chief, Major General Angus Campbell, had been appointed to lead Australia's new border protection policy, Operation Sovereign Borders. He will be promoted to lieutenant general in this new role.

The new policy, which has been criticised by Indonesian officials, also includes buying fishing boats from Indonesian villages to prevent them falling into the hands of people smugglers.

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