“All I ask is that I am judged on my performance, not on my gender”: Payne

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Australia's new Defence Minister Marise Payne shakes hands with Australian Governor General Peter Cosgrove during a swearing-in ceremony at Government House in Canberra, Australia, September 21, 2015. Payne is one of five women in the new cabinet after Australia got its fifth prime minister in as many years last week after the ruling Liberal Party voted to replace Abbott with former investment banker Malcolm Turnbull, following months of infighting and crumbling voter support. REUTERS/Stefan Postles/Pool

The newly appointed first ever female Defence minister of Australia, Marise Payne, has urged the nation to judge her on her performance rather than her gender, during her first press conference on Tuesday. She also said that no announcement on changed or new priorities would be made until next week after she has been briefed by the top brass of the country’s military.

“Apparently I am Australia's first female defence minister -- all I ask is that I am judged on my performance, not on my gender,” she told reporters in Canberra on Tuesday.

Even though she declined to give any details on the defence propaganda of the country until next week, she has admitted to a comment by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on China’s interests in South China Sea being counter-productive. “His remarks were very considered - I would have no difference with those remarks,” she said.

Payne is the sixth defence minister to be appointed in the past eight years and is one of the biggest stars of the cabinet reshuffle by Mr Turnbull. She is confident of being there for the “long-haul” despite the turmoils that stormed the portfolio since 2007.

Her decision to speak to the media is itself a deviation from the tradition of the new defence ministers in Australia who did not open up until six weeks have passed and they are full prepared.

"I have no intention of walking away from politics any time soon, that should be an important message for defence, that this is the commitment this government gives and I have every intention of backing it up," she said.

She also mentioned she met with U.S. ambassador to Australia John Berry alongside Mr Turnbull and Foreign Minister Julie Bishop on Monday. According to Payne, the meeting reinstated Australia’s ties with the U.S.

Payne even revealed plans of attending the Australia-United States Ministerial Consultation, to be held in the U.S in two weeks, and visiting Indonesia. The biggest task facing the new defence minister is the submission of the defence white paper in October.

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