Australia's new PM sworn into power

2013-09-18 08:01
Tony Abbott is sworn in as the 28th prime minister of Australia during a ceremony in Canberra. (Stefan Postles, AFP)

Tony Abbott is sworn in as the 28th prime minister of Australia during a ceremony in Canberra. (Stefan Postles, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Canberra - Tony Abbott was sworn in as Australia's new prime minister on Wednesday 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.

Abbott 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 centre-left Labor Party in 7 September 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," Abbott told the ceremony, referring to an election pledge to increase spending on road construction.

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

Contentious policy

Abbott's first Cabinet meeting was scheduled for Wednesday after the 90-minute swearing in ceremony.

Abbott also announced that Australia's contentious 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 $10 000 to get them to Australia from Indonesian ports

The incoming government announced on Tuesday that deputy army chief, Major General Angus Campbell, had been appointed to lead Australia's new border protection policy, Operation Sovereign Borders. Campbell 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. Australian officials would also pay villages for information about people smugglers under another controversial aspect to the policy.

Acting opposition leader Chris Bowen on Wednesday said the plan would cause problems with the countries' close relationship.

"Mr Abbott has told us he wants a Jakarta-based foreign policy at the same time as saying to Jakarta we don't care what you think, this is what we're doing," Bowen told Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

"This is a recipe, frankly, for ongoing problems in relation to boats arriving in Australia - it's [a] recipe for ongoing dispute with Indonesia about this issue."

Also, refugees who arrive by boat will be given temporary protection visas from Wednesday instead of being permanently resettled in Australia.

Abbott plans to make his first international trip as prime minister to Indonesia on 30 September to discuss the plan and other issues.

On energy policy, Abbott plans to order officials to draft legislation that would repeal the carbon tax imposed on the country's biggest greenhouse gas emitters. The tax has been attacked over its impact on household power bills since it was first levied from July 2012.

Abbott would remove the tax from July 2014 if the Parliament passes his legislative agenda.

From Wednesday, the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, a $9.4bn government fund to finance low-pollution technologies, will be barred from making any further loans.

Australia is one of the world's worst emitters of greenhouse gases on a per capita basis due largely to its heavy reliance on abundant reserves of cheap coal for electricity generation.

Read more on:    tony abbott  |  australia

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.