Rudd takes top role in new Australian government

8:01 pm on 11 September 2010

Former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd is to be Foreign Minister in the country's new government.

The move has been confirmed by the office of Prime Minister Julia Gillard, who deposed Mr Rudd in June.

The ABC reports Stephen Smith has moved aside to allow Ms Gillard to fulfil her promise to Mr Rudd.

Mr Smith will replace John Faulkner as Defence Minister, with responsibility for Australia's involvement in the war in Afghanistan, while Craig Emerson will take up the trade portfolio.

Ms Gillard's job was made slightly easier yesterday when Independent MP Rob Oakeshott decided not to take up her offer for a ministry.

Mr Oakeshott said he declined the offer because he did not want the regional development package to be derailed by forces in Parliament

There are four new Ministers: Bill Shorten will be Assistant Treasurer and Minister for Superannuation and Financial Services, Mark Butler will focus on Ageing and Mental Health, Gary Gray is the new Special Minister of State and Jason Clare will focus on Defence Procurement.

Ms Gillard's new ministry will be sworn in by Governor-General Quentin Bryce on Monday.

Trouble ahead

On the same days as Ms Gillard's team was unveiled, an MP threatended to withdraw his support on a major issue.

Tasmanian Independent MP Andrew Wilkie has threatened to block the Government's proposed mining tax unless a thorough review of it is conducted.

Mr Wilkie was the first independent to back Labor in the hung Parliament and it appears the issue could cause the first face-off between him and Ms Gillard.

He has labelled the tax as "rushed" and "flawed" and says he will oppose the legislation when it is introduced in the House of Representatives unless the government conducts more consultation with industry and experts.

Mr Wilkie says there needs to be more discussion about which companies the tax applies to and whether the tax should encompass commodities other than coal and iron.