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Rudd handed foreign minister role

Former prime minister Kevin Rudd has been made Australia's new foreign minister.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard, who scraped victory in elections last month just weeks after she toppled Mr Rudd in an internal ruling party revolt, made the appointment as part of new Cabinet changes.

Mr Rudd is a former diplomat who speaks Mandarin fluently.

He replaces Stephen Smith, who was made defence minister in the shuffle of Cabinet posts.

Ms Gillard last week completed a deal with independents and minor party politicians that allowed her to stay in power as head of Australia's first minority government in 70 years after August 21 elections that ended with no clear winner.

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