Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

THE INTERVIEW

Exclusive: Israel's US ambassador speaks to FRANCE 24

Read more

#THE 51%

World War One: The war that changed women’s lives

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

Ségolène Royal goes for green

Read more

THE OBSERVERS

A look back at some of the Observers' best stories

Read more

DEBATE

Argentina Defaults: Kirchner Cries Foul Over 'Vulture Funds' (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

Argentina Defaults: Kirchner Cries Foul Over 'Vulture Funds'

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Ebola death toll tops 700

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Dozens of youths trampled to death on Conakry beach

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Renault's women drivers ad deemed sexist

Read more

  • Exclusive: Israel's US ambassador speaks to FRANCE 24

    Read more

  • Live: Israeli soldier feared captured, ceasefire 'over'

    Read more

  • Ugandan court strikes down anti-gay legislation

    Read more

  • Regional summit to tackle deadly Ebola outbreak

    Read more

  • French hospital to open wine bar for terminally ill patients

    Read more

  • €2.5 million in cocaine ‘disappears’ from Paris police HQ

    Read more

  • Appeal court keeps French rogue trader Kerviel in jail

    Read more

  • Air France ground workers to strike on August 2

    Read more

  • Interactive: France’s new plan to counter jihadism in Africa

    Read more

  • Ukrainian army suffers losses in separatist attack

    Read more

  • Dozens killed and injured in Taiwan gas blast

    Read more

  • Argentinian markets plummet following default

    Read more

  • French Jews speak of growing fear in Paris amid Gaza conflict

    Read more

  • Video: Inside Hamas ‘terror’ tunnels in Gaza

    Read more

  • Sierra Leone declares state of emergency over spread of Ebola

    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)