Foreign Minister has heart surgery

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The Independent Online

Australia's Foreign Minister will be out of action for two months while he recovers from successful open heart surgery, his cardiologist says.

Kevin Rudd underwent an aortic valve transplant in his home town of Brisbane yesterday. It was the 53-year-old former prime minister's second valve transplant: the first was in 1993.

Mr Rudd's recovery is essential to the survival of Prime Minister Julia Gillard's government, which holds power with a single-seat majority in parliament. Commentators often say her centre-left Labor Party is "only a heart attack away from losing government".