Skip to main content

Kevin Rudd, Australia's former prime minister, quits federal politics

By the CNN Staff
November 13, 2013 -- Updated 1107 GMT (1907 HKT)
Former Australian PM, Kevin Rudd on September 6, 2013 in Sydney, Australia.
Former Australian PM, Kevin Rudd on September 6, 2013 in Sydney, Australia.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Party infighting caused the Labor Party the prime ministership
  • In 2009, Rudd formally apologized to the Forgotten Australians

(CNN) -- Former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd bid farewell to politics, telling parliamentarians Wednesday in an emotional speech that he will step down at the end of the week.

Rudd was first elected prime minister in 2007. Party infighting caused him to lose the post to Julia Gillard in 2010.

He reclaimed the position in June in yet more infighting in the Labor Party.

But when it came to elections in September, the bookish incumbent lost to the pugnacious style of Tony Abbott.

New Australian PM Tony Abbott sworn in
Victory for Abbott in Australia

Labor infighting boosted Abbott's standing in the polls and -- under Gillard -- the party faced certain defeat at elections this year.

While the installation of Rudd as prime minister for a second time helped the party claw back some of the ground Labor lost under Gillard, many analysts said his arrival came too late to save the party.

"For our family, recent statements since the September election have been particularly hurtful," Rudd told lawmakers. "As parliamentarians you might say we become inured to all of this, although I doubt it."

Abbot's office issued a statement saying "While Mr Rudd will no longer continue as a parliamentarian, I have every confidence that he will continue to serve our country and the values that he has always believed in."

"Whatever disagreements my colleagues and I have had with Mr Rudd, we will always honour what he achieved on the day of the National Apology," the statement said. "Ancient wrongs were addressed that day. It was a great moment in our country's history and it happened because of him."

In November 2009, Rudd -- then the prime minister -- formally apologized to thousands of adults who, as impoverished British children, were brought to Australia with the promise of a better life but found abuse and forced labor.

The so-called Forgotten Australians -- children who came from British families struggling with severe poverty or from institutions in the UK -- were brought to Australia in a program that ended 40 years ago.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
September 22, 2014 -- Updated 0204 GMT (1004 HKT)
Branded an "extremist" by China's state-run media, Joshua Wong isn't even old enough to drive.
September 22, 2014 -- Updated 0507 GMT (1307 HKT)
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi surprised political pundits with his rapid rise to power. CNN meets the man behind the enigma.
September 19, 2014 -- Updated 0106 GMT (0906 HKT)
British journalist John Cantlie hadn't been seen in nearly two years. Now, he's the latest hostage to be paraded out by ISIS.
September 19, 2014 -- Updated 1049 GMT (1849 HKT)
British PM David Cameron has had the narrowest of political escapes.
The burial leader. The hospital gatekeeper. The disease detective. All telling powerful, stories from West Africa.
September 18, 2014 -- Updated 2303 GMT (0703 HKT)
Alibaba's IPO is unlike anything investors have ever seen and could threaten other online retailers. Maggie Lake reports.
September 22, 2014 -- Updated 0130 GMT (0930 HKT)
Indian PM Narendra Modi has said al Qaeda will fail if it seeks to spread its terror network into his country.
September 18, 2014 -- Updated 1201 GMT (2001 HKT)
Put yourself in the shoes (and sixth-century black robes) of ISIS' Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the mysterious boss of the terror group.
September 20, 2014 -- Updated 1444 GMT (2244 HKT)
 Tennis Player Li Na attends the WTA Pre-Wimbledon Party as guests enjoy Ciroc Vodka presented by Dubai Duty Free at Kensington Roof Gardens on June 19, 2014 in London,
Asia's first grand slam singles champion Li Na has called time on her 15-year tennis career.
September 18, 2014 -- Updated 1409 GMT (2209 HKT)
Even death couldn't part two skeletons excavated from a lost chapel in an English county, found with their fingers entwined.
September 19, 2014 -- Updated 1007 GMT (1807 HKT)
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT