Kevin Rudd

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Kevin Michael Rudd
PartyAustralian Labor Party
Prime Minister
From3 December 2007
To24 June 2010
SucceededJohn Howard
PrecededJulia Gillard
Prime Minister Again
From27 June 2013
To
SucceededJulia Gillard
Preceded
Labor Party leader
From4 December 2006
To24 June 2010
SucceededKim Beazley
PrecededJulia Gillard
Labor Party Leader
From27 June 2013
To
SucceededJulia Gillard
Preceded

Kevin Rudd was the 26th and is now the 28th Prime Minister of Australia and leader of the federal parliamentary wing of the Australian Labor Party (ALP) between December 2007 and June 2010, and June 2013 onwards, and Minister for Foreign Affairs from 14 September 2010 to 22 February 2012. At the federal level, the ALP won the 24 November 2007 election after 11 years of John Howard's Liberal-National coalition government. Kevin Rudd advocates socialistic policies, such as a multi-billion dollar stimulus package that gave cash handouts to any citizen earning less than $100,000 a year[1] and a carbon emissions trading scheme which the government has so far been unable to pass.[2] Despite this, Australia was one of few Western nations to not record two consecutive quarters of negative growth during the recession of 2008.

Contents

Public Service and Political career

From 1981-1988 Rudd served in the Department of Foreign Affairs, mostly posted overseas at the Australian embassies in Stockholm, Sweden and later in Beijing, China.

In 1988, he was appointed Chief of Staff to the Labor Opposition Leader in Queensland, Wayne Goss. When the Labor Party won office in 1989, he became Chief of Staff to the Premier. In 1992, Goss appointed him Director-General of the Office of Cabinet. When the Goss government lost office in 1995, Rudd became a Senior China Consultant in the accounting firm KPMG Australia. He continued in this role while unsuccessfully contesting for election to the federal electorate of Griffith at the 1996 federal election, which he also contested at the 1998 election and won. Rudd served as Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs (2001-2005).

In December 2006, Rudd became Leader of the Opposition after deposing the previous leader of the ALP, Kim Beazley, in a leadership ballot. Since that time, he has enjoyed unprecedented public popularity having campaigned successfully on issues such as the environment and climate change, education and industrial relations policy.

During the 2007 election campaign, Rudd was accused of copying some of his policies (in particular economic policies) from his more conservative predecessor, John Howard, in a bid to win office, believing that the electorate found those policies appealing.

The ALP won the election on 24 November 2007, and Rudd was soon affirmed as the leader of the parliamentary wing and therefore Prime Minister elect. The new federal Cabinet was sworn in by the Governor General of Australia on 3 December 2007.

Prime Minister of Australia

Among Rudd's first acts as Prime Minister was to ratify the Kyoto Protocol, something Howard had refused to do for economic reasons. Additionally, Rudd made a formal parliamentary apology to the "Stolen Generation", a large group of indigenous Australians who were forcibly removed from their community in the first half of the 20th century. While there is continued dispute among historians over whether the "Stolen Generation" existed, the Opposition gave its support to the apology. Polls taken since the election show the ALP holding a commanding lead in the polls under Rudd's leadership, with Rudd leading opposition leader Brendan Nelson by 70% to 9% in the "preferred Prime Minister" rating (leading the press to dub Nelson as "Mr. Nine Percent").[3] Rudd reduced a Royal Australian Air Force air hostess to tears in April 2009 when he verbally abused her after losing his temper over an in-flight meal.[4]

Foreign Minister of Australia

Rudd was appointed as Minister for Foreign Affairs of Australia on 14 September 2010. He resigned from that position on 22 February 2012 in a speech at about 1.30am local time, 22 February 2012, in The Willard Hotel in Washington DC, stating that negative statements by colleagues including the Prime Minister of Australia, Julia Gillard, were a deciding factor in his resignation. The timing in Washington corresponded to late afternoon in eastern Australia, just before the evening TV news.

2013 Leadership Challenge

The minister for sour grapes re-took the leadership of the ALP, and following that the office of Prime Minister, on Jun 26th 2013 after a leadership spill. The timing coincides with an imminent federal election which the ALP are expected to lose badly, so some have suggested this may have been a damage control measure.

Personal life

Rudd grew up in a house steeped in conservative politics. His father was a dairy farmer on the Sunshine Coast of Queensland, and member of the Country Party. After his father was killed in a car accident, when Rudd was 11 year old, the family was forced to leave the farm. Rudd joined the Labor Party at age 15.

For a time he boarded at Marist College Ashgrove in Brisbane. He was dux of his state high school at Nambour, then went on to study at the Australian National University in Canberra, the national capital, gaining First Class Honours in Arts (Asian Studies), majoring in Chinese language and history, became proficient in Mandarin, and acquired a Chinese alias, Lù Kèwén (the latter a similar sound to his given name, Kevin.)

Rudd met his future wife, Therese Rein, at a meeting of the Australian Student Christian Movement while studying at university. He was then attending a Uniting church. They married in 1981 at St John's Anglican Church in Canberra, and have three children.

Rudd has given various speeches about his faith, and quotes the German theologian and martyr to the anti-Nazi cause, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, as his hero[5].

Rudd has attended the Anglican church with his wife and family, without formally taking up membership[5]. He is credited with being an active member of the Parliamentary Christian Fellowship, attending not only lectures but also Bible studies. He is said to carry a Bible when he travels and has stated he is a creationist:[6]

“For me, it’s ultimately the order of the cosmos or what I describe as the creation. You can’t simply have, in my own judgment, creation simply being a random event because it is so inherently ordered, and the fact that the natural environment is being ordered where it can properly coexist over time. If you were simply reducing that to mathematically probabilities I’ve got to say it probably wouldn’t have happened. So I think there is an intelligent mind at work."

References

  1. Household Stimulus Package Factsheet, accessed 8 November 2009.
  2. Kevin Rudd urges Liberals to back emissions trading scheme, The Australian, 2 November 2009, accessed 8 November 2009.
  3. Mr. 9% - Brendan Nelson's parlous poll position Fairfax Digital, 19 February 2008, accessed 2 March 2008
  4. Kevin Rudd loses temper over in-flight meal, Herald Sun, 2 April 2009, accessed 8 November 2009.
  5. 5.0 5.1 More than just a light on the hill, Fairfax Digital, 22 December 2007, accessed 27 December 2007
  6. Why Kevin Rudd believes in God, Adelaide Now, 29 August 2008, accessed 13 December 2009.

External Links

Australian Prime Ministers
Edmund Barton (1901)

Alfred Deakin (1903, 1905, and 1909)
John Watson (1904)
George Reid (1904)
Andrew Fisher (1908, 1910, and 1914)
Joseph Cook (1913)
William Hughes (1915)

Stanley Bruce (1923)

James Scullin (1929)
Joseph Lyons (1932)
Earle Page (1939)
Robert Menzies (1939 and 1949)
Arthur Fadden (1941)
John Curtin (1941)

Francis Forde (1945)

Joseph Chifley (1945)
Harold Holt (1966)
John McEwen (1967)
John Gorton (1968)
William McMahon (1971)
Gough Whitlam (1972)

Malcolm Fraser (1975)

Robert Hawke (1983)
Paul Keating (1991)
John Howard (1996)
Kevin Rudd (2007)

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