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Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's Cabinet sworn in

July 1, 2013 at 9:04 AM   |   Comments

CANBERRA, Australia, July 1 (UPI) -- The Cabinet of Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd was sworn in Monday as the country's new leader said he wanted his "best players" as his ministers.

A number of Rudd's supporters were promoted while some of former Prime Minister Julia Gillard's backers saw their roles switched, the Australian Broadcasting Corp. reported.

Rudd defeated Gillard last week in a Labor Party vote, reclaiming the post he lost to Gillard in 2010.

"I want our best players on the field," Rudd said, noting he made the appointments based on merit. "This is a strong team; I am proud to lead this team."

Also Monday, Labor Party stalwart Simon Crean announced he would retire after 23 years in Parliament. He is the latest senior Labor figure who announced his departure from politics in the wake of last week's leadership change. Gillard, among others, also announced her retirement.

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott did not express much enthusiasm for Rudd's Cabinet choices, ABC said.

"The new ministry is not even the B team, it's the C team," he said.

Polls indicate the Labor Party will be defeated in the general election, now scheduled for September.

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