Australia PM Albanese appoints record number of women to diverse cabinet

FILE PHOTO: Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese attends the Quad leaders’ summit, in Tokyo, Japan, May 24, 2022. Yuichi Yamazaki/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Australia's new federal ministry was sworn into office on Wednesday, with Prime Minister Anthony Albanese appointing a record number of women to a diverse cabinet team that includes religious minorities and Indigenous Aboriginals.

A total of 10 women were included in Albanese's 23-member cabinet, surpassing the seven in the previous Liberal-National coalition government led by Scott Morrison.

Industry Minister Ed Husic and Youth Minister Anne Aly became Australia's first Muslim federal ministers at a ceremony in the national capital, Canberra, while Linda Burney, wearing a kangaroo-skin cloak, became the first Aboriginal woman to hold the Indigenous Australians ministry.

Albanese formed an interim ministry, that included 4 other key members, two days after the May 21 election so he could attend a Quad group meeting in Tokyo, attended by U.S. President Joe Biden and the leaders of Japan and India.

Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles - who was part of the interim ministry along with Penny Wong in foreign affairs, Jim Chalmers as treasurer and Katy Gallagher in finance - has been assigned the defence portfolio.

Don Farrell is the new trade minister and Tanya Plibersek the environment minister, while Clare O'Neil will be in charge of home affairs and Chris Bowen takes energy.

Former Labor leader Bill Shorten will be minister for government services.

Albanese on Tuesday said Labor will govern in its own right, claiming 77 seats in the 151-seat lower house, letting it form a majority government without the support of climate-focussed independents and Greens.

Securing a majority lowers the risk for Labor that it would have to negotiate with 16 crossbenchers to pass legislation, although it will still need to win additional support for legislation in parliament's upper house.

(Reporting by Renju Jose; editing by Richard Pullin)

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