|Kevin Michael Rudd|
|Party||Australian Labor Party|
|From||3 December 2007|
|To||24 June 2010|
|Labor Party leader|
|From||4 December 2006|
|To||24 June 2010|
Kevin Rudd was the 26th Prime Minister of Australia and leader of the federal parliamentary wing of the Australian Labor Party (ALP) between December 2007 and June 2010, 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 and a carbon emissions trading scheme which the government has so far been unable to pass. Despite this, Australia was one of few Western nations to not record two consecutive quarters of negative growth during the recession of 2008.
Public Service and Political career
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"). 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.
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.
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 attended the Anglican church with his wife and family, without formally taking up membership. 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:
“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."
- Household Stimulus Package Factsheet, accessed 8 November 2009.
- Kevin Rudd urges Liberals to back emissions trading scheme, The Australian, 2 November 2009, accessed 8 November 2009.
- Mr. 9% - Brendan Nelson's parlous poll position Fairfax Digital, 19 February 2008, accessed 2 March 2008
- Kevin Rudd loses temper over in-flight meal, Herald Sun, 2 April 2009, accessed 8 November 2009.
- More than just a light on the hill, Fairfax Digital, 22 December 2007, accessed 27 December 2007
- Why Kevin Rudd believes in God, Adelaide Now, 29 August 2008, accessed 13 December 2009.
|Australian Prime Ministers|
|Edmund Barton (1901)
||Stanley Bruce (1923)
||Francis Forde (1945)
||Malcolm Fraser (1975)|