Kevin Rudd

Kevin Rudd

Kevin Michael Rudd (born 21 September 1957) is an Australian politician who was the 26th Prime Minister of Australia from 2007 to 2010 and the Leader of the Labor Party from 2006 to 2010.

Rudd was born in Queensland and grew up on a dairy farm. He joined the Australian Labor Party at the age of 15 and was dux of Nambour State High School in 1974. He studied a Bachelor of Arts in Asian Studies at the Australian National University, majoring in Chinese language and Chinese history. He worked for the Department of Foreign Affairs from 1981 to 1988, when he became Chief of Staff to Queensland Premier Wayne Goss. After the Goss Government lost office in 1996, Rudd was hired as a Senior China Consultant by the accounting firm KPMG Australia. Rudd was first elected to the House of Representatives for Griffith at the 1998 federal election, joining the Shadow Cabinet in 2001 as Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs.

In December 2006, he successfully challenged Kim Beazley to become the Leader of the Labor Party, subsequently becoming the Leader of the Opposition. Under Rudd, Labor overtook the incumbent Liberal/National Coalition led by John Howard in the polls, as Labor made a number of policy announcements on areas such as industrial relations, climate change, an "education revolution", a National Broadband Network, and health.

Labor won the 2007 federal election with a 23-seat swing, and Rudd was sworn in as the 26th Prime Minister of Australia on 3 December. The Rudd Government's first acts included signing the Kyoto Protocol and delivering an apology to Indigenous Australians for the stolen generations. The previous government's industrial relations legislation, WorkChoices, was largely dismantled, Australia's remaining Iraq War combat personnel were withdrawn, and the "Australia 2020 Summit" was held. In response to the global financial crisis, the government provided economic stimulus packages, and Australia was one of the few western countries to avoid the late-2000s recession.

Despite a long period of high popularity in opinion polls, a significant fall in Rudd's personal ratings was blamed on a proposed Resource Super Profits Tax and the deferral of the Senate-rejected Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme. With the next election drawing near, there was growing dissatisfaction with Rudd's leadership within the Labor Party. Eventually, Rudd's deputy, Julia Gillard, announced on 23 June 2010 that she would challenge him for the leadership the following day. Knowing he would be defeated if he contested the leadership, on the morning of the ballot Rudd resigned as Prime Minister.

After his resignation, he successfully recontested his seat at the 2010 federal election, after which Labor formed a minority government. He was subsequently promoted back to the Cabinet by Julia Gillard as Minister for Foreign Affairs, a post he remained in until he resigned on 22 February 2012 in an ultimately futile attempt to challenge Gillard for the leadership.

Read more about Kevin Rudd:  Early Life and Family, Entry Into Politics, Member of Parliament, Prime Minister, 2010 Election, Foreign Minister

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