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Australia's new prime minister appoints a record 10 women to his Cabinet

"This is the largest number of women who have ever served in an Australian Cabinet," Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said of his leadership picks. He's seen here last week, speaking alongside (from left) Finance Minister Penny Wong, Deputy Prime Minster Richard Marles and Finance Minister Katy Gallagher.
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"This is the largest number of women who have ever served in an Australian Cabinet," Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said of his leadership picks. He's seen here last week, speaking alongside (from left) Finance Minister Penny Wong, Deputy Prime Minster Richard Marles and Finance Minister Katy Gallagher.

Australia's new government will look more like its country, as Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has named a record 10 women to his incoming Cabinet. The high-profile appointments include Penny Wong as foreign minister, Claire O'Neil as home affairs and cyber security minister, and Katy Gallagher as finance minister.

"This is an exciting team. It's a team that is overflowing, I think, with talent, with people who are absolutely committed to making a difference as ministers and assistant ministers," Albanese said on Tuesday at a news conference in Canberra.

"This is the largest number of women who have ever served in an Australian Cabinet," he added.

A few of the new leaders were sworn in last week, but Albanese has now unveiled the full slate of Cabinet postings. The remaining ministers will be sworn in Wednesday morning, he said.

With 10 women in leadership roles, Albanese is raising the bar set by seven women in top jobs under Scott Morrison, the former prime minister. But Morrison's government also struggled to contend with a string of sexual misconduct scandals that helped pave the way for the conservatives' ouster after nearly a decade in power.

The 10 spots reflect less than half of the more than 20 positions. But, the Women's Agenda website notes, "Albanese's cabinet is more diverse than previous Australian cabinets, among both the men and women who'll serve."

The site reports that the new government will also include two Muslim ministers: Ed Husic will be the minister for industry and science while Anne Aly will lead both the early childhood education and youth portfolios, which are part of the so-called outer ministry that's one rung below the Cabinet.

Albanese announced the selections a week after the center-left Labor Party leader won the election and was promptly sworn in. With full national voting results now in, Albanese said on Tuesday that his government will have an outright majority when Parliament opens its new session.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Bill Chappell is a writer and editor on the News Desk in the heart of NPR's newsroom in Washington, D.C.

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