Julia Gillard Sworn in As Australia's First Female PM
Australia's new Prime Minister Julia Gillard has promised to safeguard her government's reforms in education, health and industrial law.
Gillard made the promise after being sworn in as Australia's first woman Prime Minister replacing Kevin Rudd.
Our Australian correspondent, Chen Feng, has the details.
Australia's ruling Labor Party ousted Prime Minister Kevin Rudd on Thursday in a sudden, stunning revolt that also delivered the country its first female leader.
Rudd's deputy, Julia Gillard, was elected leader in an uncontested vote about 12 hours after she surprised many colleagues by challenging a prime minister who until recently had been among the country's most popular.
Gillard was elected unopposed and later sworn into office by Governor-General Quentin Bryce within hours of the ballot.
During her first news conference, Gillard explained the reasons behind her decision to seek leadership change within the ruling party.
"I asked my colleagues to make a leadership change, a change because I believed that a good government was losing its way. And because I believe fundamentally that the basic education and health services that Australians rely on, and their decent treatment at work, is at risk in the next election."
Gillard also pledged to prevent attempts by the opposition to cut spending for public services.
"I love this country, and I was not going to sit idly by and watch an incoming opposition cut education, cut health and smash rights at work. My values and my beliefs have driven me to step forward to take this position as prime minister."
In his final speech as prime minister, ousted Kevin Rudd rated keeping Australia out of recession at the top of his list of achievements during his short tenure.
"I'm proud of the fact that we kept Australia out of the global economic recession. I'm proud of the fact that had we not done so, we would have had half a million Australians out there out of work, because that's what happened around the rest of the world."
Julia Gillard had been deputy to Kevin Rudd since their Labor Party swept to power in a landslide election victory in 2007.
Her new deputy prime minister, Wayne Swan, retains his key financial portfolio as treasurer and will fly to Canada for the G-20 Summit in Rudd's place.
Gillard has yet to announce any other ministers in her new cabinet.
For CRI, I'm Chen Feng in Australia.