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Kevin Michael Rudd

Rudd, Kevin Michael, 1957–, Australian political leader, b. Nambour, Queensland, grad. Australian National Univ. 1981. After working (1981–88) in the ministry of foreign affairs and trade, including stints in the Australian embassies in Sweden and China, he entered politics as chief of staff to Queensland Labor party leader Wayne Goss. In 1996 he ran for the Australian House of Representatives from the S Brisbane suburbs and lost, but he won in the same district in 1998 and subsequently has been reelected. In Labor's shadow cabinet as foreign affairs spokesman from 2001, he won the party leadership post in 2006. In Nov., 2007, Rudd led the Labor party back to power after four consecutive Liberal-National victories and became prime minister. In 2008 he officially apologized to Australia's aborigines for the nation's past mistreatment of them. A loss of popularity in 2010 led to a leadership challenge from his deputy, Julia Gillard, in June, and he stepped down as party leader and prime minister. In Sept., 2010, he became foreign minister under Gillard, but resigned some 18 months later amid speculation that he would contest the party leadership; he subsequently lost a leadership vote. In 2013 he was involved in two challenges to Gillard; he replaced her in June. Subsequently, Labor lost the Sept., 2013, general election, and Rudd stepped aside as party leader and then (November) retired from politics.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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