Sinologist: Kevin Rudd

【Sinologist】Time:2023-10-11      Source:Wikipedia      Views:224

Kevin Michael Rudd AC (born 21 September 1957) is an Australian diplomat and former politician who served as the 26th prime minister of Australia, from 2007 to 2010 and June 2013 to September 2013, holding office as the leader of the Australian Labor Party (ALP). Rudd is the 23rd and current Ambassador of Australia to the United States since 2023.



Born in Nambour, Queensland, Rudd graduated from the Australian National University with honours in Chinese studies, and is fluent in Mandarin. Before entering politics, he worked as a diplomat and public servant for the Goss Ministry. Rudd was elected to the Australian House of Representatives at the 1998 federal election, as a member of parliament (MP) for the division of Griffith. He was promoted to the shadow cabinet in 2001 as Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs. In December 2006, he defeated Kim Beazley in a leadership spill to become the leader of the Labor Party, thus becoming Leader of the Opposition. Rudd led Labor to a landslide victory at the 2007 election, defeating the Howard government. The Rudd government's earliest acts included action on climate change through ratification of the Kyoto Protocol and delivering the first national apology to Australia's Indigenous peoples for the Stolen Generations. The Government also provided economic stimulus packages in response to the financial crisis of 2007–2008, resulting in Australia becoming one of the only developed countries to avoid the late-2000s recession. Other signature policies included establishing the National Broadband Network (NBN), launching the Digital Education Revolution and the Building the Education Revolution, dismantling WorkChoices, and withdrawing Australian troops from the Iraq War.


In 2010, Rudd began to face instability within his party, after the Australian Senate rejected his government's proposed Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme. This prompted deputy prime minister Julia Gillard to challenge him for the leadership of the Labor Party in June of that year. Rather than contest the leadership, Rudd chose to resign, meaning that Gillard replaced him as prime minister. His removal from office began a sequence of four subsequent prime ministers who would all be removed by their own parties before completing their full first term. Rudd remained in the party as a backbencher, and chose to re-contest his seat at the 2010 election, which resulted in a Gillard-led minority government. Within the Gillard government, Rudd was brought back into the Cabinet by Gillard as Minister for Foreign Affairs. He remained in that role until resigning in February 2012, citing Gillard's failure to discipline colleagues who had publicly criticised him. In response, Gillard called a leadership spill, which Rudd lost. Tensions over the leadership nevertheless continued; after a spill in March 2013, which Rudd did not contest, a further ballot was held in June 2013, which Rudd won by 57 votes to 45, becoming prime minister once again. His second term as prime minister lasted less than three months, as Labor was defeated at the 2013 election.


Rudd retired from parliament following the election, but has stayed active in politics. In February 2014, he was named Senior Fellow at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, where he leads research on the future of China–United States relations. He was also appointed as a distinguished fellow-in-residence at the Paulson Institute within the University of Chicago in September of that year. Additionally, he is chair of the Independent Commission on Multilateralism, chair of Sanitation and Water for All, and chairman of the board at the International Peace Institute. In January 2021, he was assigned as the eighth president and CEO of the Asia Society. Notably, Rudd has campaigned against media mogul Rupert Murdoch's dominance in Australian political debate, and called for a royal commission into media diversity in the country. He was appointed as Australia's Ambassador to the U.S. by the Albanese government in March 2023.


Rudd maintained long periods of popularity in opinion polls during his initial tenure as prime minister for successfully helping Australia through the global financial crisis and for his well renowned apology to the Indigenous community, but he saw a rapid decrease in popularity both in public polling and within his own party after his failure to deliver key pieces of legislation. He was praised for his management of the global financial crisis, willingness to apologise to Indigenous Australians, and diplomatic skills, but was widely criticised for his failure to negotiate a carbon pricing scheme and a tax on non-renewable resources. He is often ranked in the middle-to-lower tier of Australian prime ministers.