New Australian premier Turnbull to promote women in cabinet

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Australia’s new prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull, hinted Wednesday that he would end the lack of women in ministerial positions, as he held discussions over his new government.

Turnbull’s predecessor Tony Abbott was criticized for having only one woman among his 20 ministers: Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, who was instrumental in ousting Abbott in a party vote on Monday.

The new premier told reporters that “there is no greater enthusiast than me for seeing more women in positions of power and influence in Parliament.”

He did not reveal which of Abbott’s ministers will lose their jobs when he unveils his new cabinet, expected to be sworn in next week.

Treasurer Joe Hockey is expected to lose his post to Scott Morrison, who became known internationally as immigration minister and the face of the Abbott government’s zero-tolerance position on boat refugees.

Turnbull spent his first full day as prime minister seeking to reassure the large conservative wing of his party that he was not going to reverse policies set by Abbott on climate change and same sex marriage, reports said.

“I support marriage equality. Many of my colleagues do not. Many of the Leader of the Opposition’s colleagues do not,” Turnbull said during Question Time in parliament.

He will leave the matter to the Australian people to decide in a future referendum, he said.

Turnbull faced opposition charges of selling out after he described a call for 50 per cent of Australia’s energy to come from renewable sources as “reckless.”

Abbott was not in parliament Wednesday, but observers noticed bags full of shredded paper leaving his office.

Abbott received a call from US President Barack Obama thanking him for his support in the coalition against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

It came the same day as Australian warplanes dropped their first bomb on Islamic State forces inside Syria, destroying an armoured personnel carrier.

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