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Australia gets first Muslim frontbencher

01 July 2013, 16:02

Sydney - The dumping of Australia's first woman prime minister Julia Gillard has paved the way for another milestone for the nation's parliament - its first frontbencher of the Muslim faith, sworn in on Monday.

Ed Husic, whose mother and father are Bosnian migrants, was sworn in as parliamentary secretary to Prime Minister Kevin Rudd who retook the leadership last week.

"This is a wonderful day for multiculturalism, and everything it stands for in our country," Governor-General Quentin Bryce told Husic during the swearing-in ceremony in Canberra.

"I wish you all the best as you serve our country as parliamentary secretary."

Husic was the first Muslim elected to Australia's parliament when he won his western Sydney seat in the August 2010 election, and was sworn in back then with his hand on his parents' Qur'an.

The 43-year-old, who grew up in his electorate, had been a strong supporter of Rudd and his new appointment was seen as a reward.

Asked about his religion in 2010, he said: "If someone asks me are you Muslim I say yes. And then if someone says 'Well do you pray and go to a mosque and do all the other things that are associated with the faith?' I say no," he told the ABC.

"I often get told that I describe myself as non-practising when in actual fact I don't go round saying that. Like I just say 'I'm Muslim'."



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