Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

FRANCE IN FOCUS

French education: Reinventing the idea of school

Read more

FRENCH CONNECTIONS

Frogs legs and brains? The French food hard to stomach

Read more

#TECH 24

Station F: Putting Paris on the global tech map

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Davos 2017: 'I believe in the power of entrepreneurs to change the world'

Read more

#THE 51%

Equality in the boardroom: French law requires large firms to have 40% women on boards

Read more

FASHION

Men's fashion: Winter 2017/2018 collections shake up gender barriers

Read more

ENCORE!

Turkish writer Aslı Erdoğan speaks out about her time behind bars

Read more

REVISITED

Video: Threat of economic crisis still looms in Zimbabwe

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

DAVOS 2017: Has the bubble burst?

Read more

Asia-pacific

New parliament sworn in under PM Gillard

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2010-09-28

Australia's new parliament was sworn in on Tuesday, with the country's first woman prime minister, Julia Gillard (pictured), leading a coalition that holds a majority of just a single vote.

AFP - Australia's new parliament got off to a rocky start Tuesday with the opposition ignoring Prime Minister Julia Gillard's plea to work hand-in-hand with the first minority government since World War II.
   
Gillard warned of "remarkable and demanding times" as the parliament was sworn in, five turbulent weeks after she teetered on the brink of catastrophe when August 21 elections returned the first hung parliament in 70 years.
   
The centre-left Labor leader, who is Australia's first woman prime minister, urged the conservative opposition to embrace a new spirit of consensus and not seek to destroy her rainbow coalition's wafer-thin majority of just one vote.
   
"This term of parliament is not an opportunity to re-fight the election vote after vote, bill after bill," she told the first sitting of the House of Representatives, Australia's lower house.
   
"This is time for consensus, not confrontation."
   
However, opposition leader Tony Abbott pledged to hold the government accountable to its election promises.
   
"A finely balanced parliament does not excuse the government from its duty to keep election commitments," Abbott said, to raucous cheers from his supporters.
   
"This is an opposition which will hold this government to account. It will be a parliament of robust debate."
   
Abbott earlier pledged to tear up a convention aimed at preserving the parliament's balance in which the opposition leader does not vote when the prime minister is away, warning Gillard would have to give good reason for not attending.
   
"When the parliament is sitting the first responsibility of all its members, including the prime minister, including me, is to attend the parliament," he told reporters.
   
The comment ramps up threats from Abbott, a climate-change sceptic who came within a whisker of a shock election win, to abandon MPs' so-called "pairing" system in a bid to bring about the fragile government's collapse.
   
A related row meant Labor's Harry Jenkins was re-elected as speaker rather than an independent, cutting Gillard's advantage to 75 seats against 74 in the 150-member parliament. His two deputies were due to be decided by ballot later.

 

Date created : 2010-09-28

  • AUSTRALIA

    New premier names one-time rival Rudd as foreign minister

    Read more

  • AUSTRALIA

    Independents back Labor's Gillard to form government

    Read more

  • AUSTRALIA

    Key 'kingmaker' supports opposition in race to form government

    Read more

COMMENT(S)