Australia’s new Prime Minister

On Thursday morning, Australians were surprised to find they had a new Prime Minister. She is Julia Gillard, Australia’s first woman Prime Minister. On Wednesday, Kevin Rudd was still PM of the Australian Labour government, a position he has held for two and half years, but the next morning, all his Labour colleagues voted for a new PM. He was upset but made a speech congratulating the new PM and saying that he would continue to support the Labour government.

Kevin Rudd was very popular when he was first elected but recent opinion polls show he has lost his popularity. One of the problems was a plan for a 40% tax on any mining profits above 6%. Another problem was that he postponed the Emissions Trading Scheme.

Julia Gillard was Kevin Rudd’s Deputy PM. She was a lawyer before becoming an MP in 1998. She is aged 48. She has been to New Zealand before, in 2008, for a business leaders meeting. She said in the past that Helen Clark had been an important role model for her. John Key spoke to Ms Gillard by phone on Thursday morning to congratulate her and to offer her support. New Zealand has always had a good relationship with Australian PMs, even those belonging to a different party. John Key’s government is National which is usually a conservative party, whereas Ms Gillard’s government is Labour which is usually more left wing. However, it is important that New Zealand and Australia work closely together and forget about their party politics.


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