Kevin Rudd

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Kevin Rudd

Kevin Michael Rudd (born 21 September 1957), Australian politician, has been a Labor member of the Australian House of Representatives since 1998, representing the Division of Griffith, Queensland.

Rudd was born in Nambour, Queensland, and graduated with an arts degree with the University of Queensland. He then studied Chinese (in which he is fluent) at the Australian National University. In 1981 he joined the Australian Diplomatic Service, where he served until 1988.

In 1988 Rudd was appointed Chief of Staff to the Labor Opposition Leader in Queensland, Wayne Goss, a position he held until 1991, when Goss, by now Premier, appointed him Director-General of the Cabinet Office. These positions gave him experience of a wide range of domestic issues in addition to his experience in foreign affairs.

When the Goss government lost office in 1995, Rudd was hired as a Senior China Consultant by the accounting firm KPMG Australia. He held this position while he unsuccessfully contested the federal seat of Griffith at the 1996 federal election. In 1998 he contested the seat again, successfully.

After the 2001 elections Rudd was elected to the Opposition front bench and was appointed shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs. In this position he strongly criticised the Liberal government of John Howard over their support for the United States in the 2003 Iraq war, while maintaining Labor's position of support for the Australian-American alliance.

Rudd's policy experience and parliamentary performances during the Iraq war made him one of the best-known members of the Labor front bench. When Opposition Leader Simon Crean was challenged by his predecessor Kim Beazley in June, Rudd did not commit himself to either candidate, though it was believed that he voted for Beazley. When Crean finally resigned in late November, Rudd was considered a possible candidate for the Labor leadership. On 30 November, however, he announced that he would not be a candidate in the leadership ballot on 2 December.

Following the election of former shadow Treasurer Mark Latham, Rudd was expected by some pundits to be demoted or moved as a result of his support for Kim Beazley, but he retained his portfolio. After Latham led Labor to a heavy defeat at the October 2004 federal election, Rudd was again spoken of as a possible alternative leader. He retained his foreign affairs portfolio and disavowed any intention of challenging Latham.

When Latham suddenly resigned in January 2005, Rudd was visiting Indonesia, and refused to say whether he would be a candidate for the Labor leadership. Such a candidacy would require him to run against his factional colleague Kim Beazley. "The important thing for me to do is to consult with my colleagues in the party," he said. "I will be proceeding with my visit to Aceh tomorrow and I think that's the right thing to do. As I return to Australia on the weekend I will have something further to say." After returning from Indonesia, Rudd consulted with Labor MPs in Sydney and Melbourne and announced on 24 January that he would not contest the leadership.

Personal Life

Kevin Rudd lives in his electorate with his wife Therese and their two children, Marcus and Jessica.

While not attracting the wider media attention of, for example, Tony Abbott's Catholicism, Rudd is open about his Anglican Christianity and has given a number of interviews to the Australian religious press on the topic.

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