New Australian PM Kevin Rudd, who won in a landslide over conservative John Howard yesterday, spoke with President Bush by phone but remained mum on his immediate plans for 500 Aussie combat troops in Iraq, reports Reuters. Rudd, a cerebral, Chinese-speaking ex-diplomat, said he’d travel to next month’s climate summit in Bali and make ratifying the Kyoto Protocol a priority.
Labor, behind Rudd, led a successful attack on the government, forcing only the sixth change in leadership since World War II. Rudd, 50, plans to visit Washington in 2008 and develop closer ties with Asia. He has also pledged to end offshore detention of illegal immigrants. He’ll face a battle from a Conservative-controlled upper house, at least until July.