Abbott sworn in as Australia's new PM

Abbott sworn in as Australia's new PM

CANBERRA - Tony Abbott was sworn in as Australia's new prime minister on Wednesday and immediately ordered the scrapping of the nation's carbon tax and the halting of asylum-seeker boats.

The 55-year-old conservative pledged to get down to work after a ceremony at Government House in Canberra where his Liberal/National government officially brought six years of Labor rule to a close.

"Today is not just a ceremonial day, it's an action day. The Australian people expect us to get straight down to business and that's exactly what this government will do," Abbott said in a statement.

He was elected on September 7 on a pledge to quickly scrap taxes on corporate pollution and mining profits imposed under the Labor administration, as well as introducing a costly paid parental leave scheme and a vow to build new roads across the vast nation.

Top of his to-do list is axing the unpopular carbon tax, which charges the country's biggest polluters for their emissions at a fixed price.

His new government instead favours a "direct action" plan that includes an emissions reduction fund to pay companies to increase their energy efficiency, and money for schemes to replenish soil carbon and plant 20 million trees.

"As soon as I return to Parliament House from the swearing-in ceremony, I will instruct the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet to prepare the carbon tax repeal legislation," said Abbott, who once famously said that evidence blaming mankind for climate change was "absolute crap".

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