Kyoto Protocol tops Rudd's agenda in Australia
The Associated PressPublished: November 26, 2007
SYDNEY: Ratifying the Kyoto Protocol on climate change topped the international agenda of Australia's new leader as he got down to work Monday.
Kevin Rudd, whose victory Saturday ended John Howard's almost 12-year run as prime minister, also vowed during the campaign that he would withdraw Australia's 550 combat troops from Iraq and apologize to Aborigines on behalf of all Australians for the treatment of the indigenous population, an emotional issue that has divided the country.
He also wants to provide a computer to every secondary-school student in the country and to redraft the labor laws.
Rudd is to formally take power this week, and he held a second day of meetings Monday with senior bureaucrats and top advisers. He is scheduled to meet with newly elected lawmakers from his Labor Party on Thursday to choose his ministerial team, which was expected to be sworn in within a few days.
The deputy party leader, Julia Gillard, said Rudd would act quickly to try to ratify the Kyoto pact, paving the way for Australia to play a greater role at a major meeting on climate change next week in Bali, Indonesia. Gillard will become Australia's most senior female politician ever when she is sworn in as deputy prime minister. If Australia ratifies the Kyoto Protocol, the United States will be the only industrialized country that has not signed the agreement, which is aimed at reducing the greenhouse gases that cause climate change.