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Kevin Rudd to be Australia’s next ambassador to US

Former Labor prime minister Kevin Rudd will be Australia’s next ambassador to the United States.

Former prime minister Kevin Rudd. (AAP Image/Mick Tsikas)

Former prime minister Kevin Rudd. (AAP Image/Mick Tsikas)

Rudd’s appointment was announced by Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Foreign Minister Penny Wong on Tuesday.

“Dr Rudd brings unmatched experience to the role,” they said in a joint statement.

“He has served as prime minister, foreign minister, held prominent academic roles and worked extensively in the United States.”

Queenslander Rudd was Australia’s 26th prime minister from 2007 to 2010 and took the job again in 2013 before Labor lost government. He was foreign minister between 2010 and 2012.

He was ousted as prime minister by Julia Gillard, who was then herself ousted by Rudd.

Asked about the appointment, Albanese said he would be an “outstanding” representative in Washington and would conduct himself in a way that would bring credit to Australia.

“Kevin Rudd will be seen in the United States as a very significant appointment – I’m appointing a former prime minister,” Albanese said.

“I am very pleased that Kevin Rudd is prepared to do this. He certainly doesn’t need to do this.

“He’s doing it out of a part of what he sees as his service obligation to the country that he loves. I am sure that he will serve very well.”

Rudd, who is head of the Asia Society, has a strong knowledge of the US, as well as China, and has extensive links to the global community.

In a statement, he said he was greatly honoured by the nomination.

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“Over the past decade, I have had the pleasure of building relationships with Republicans and Democrats across politics and have developed close personal ties with American business, civil society and the media,” he said.

“(Australia’s) national interest continues to be served … by the deepest and most effective strategic engagement of the United States in our region.”

He is expected to begin his new role in early 2023.

Opposition foreign affairs spokesman Simon Birmingham said Australia’s new ambassador would need discipline, sensitivity and drive to advance the AUKUS defence partnership.

“In appointing former prime minister Rudd, Prime Minister Albanese has personally chosen a friend and confidante, a former parliamentary and ministerial colleague and someone in whom Mr Albanese clearly has faith and confidence,” Senator Birmingham said.

“Above all else, the coalition looks to Rudd … to deliver on Australia’s national interests first and foremost.”

Birmingham paid tribute to the outgoing ambassador, former Liberal MP Arthur Sinodinos, who had worked across the Trump and Biden administrations.

 

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