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Sep 18, 2013 at 12:12pm IST

Tony Abbott sworn in as Australia's new PM

Tony Abbott was sworn in as Australia's new prime minister on Wednesday and promised immediate action to slow the stream of asylum seekers arriving by boats from Indonesia and to repeal an unpopular carbon tax levied by the previous administration.

Abbott was the first of 42 government executives to be sworn in by Governor General Quentin Bryce at a ceremony at Government House in the capital Canberra.

He has been criticized for including only one woman in his 19-member Cabinet, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop — although she will be Australia's first woman named to that post.

Tony Abbott sworn in as Australia's new PM

Tony Abbott sworn in as Australia's new PM

His conservative party defeated former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's center-left Labor Party in Sept. 7 elections.

"We are determined to honor our commitments to scrap the carbon tax, to stop the boats, to get the budget under control and to build the roads of the 21st century," Abbott told the ceremony, referring to an election pledge to increase spending on road construction.

"We aim to be a calm, measured, steady and purposeful government that says what it means and does what it says," he added.

Abbott's first Cabinet meeting was scheduled for Wednesday after the 90-minute swearing in ceremony.