Former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd Resigns as Foreign Minister


Today Kevin Rudd announced at a Washington press conference his resignation as Australia’s foreign Minister.

Mr. Rudd says he’ll return to Brisbane on Friday and will make a full statement on his future before parliament resumes on Monday after consulting with family and colleagues.

“While I am sad to leave this office I am sadder still that it has come to this,” Mr. Rudd said.  He said a number of ministers and “faceless men” had publicly attacked his credibility.

Mr. Rudd’s decision comes after four days of frantic speculation he was threatening Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s authority.

Ms. Gillard was urged by Senior Labor figures today to bring the leadership to a head.  Mr. Rudd said the Australian people regarded the speculation as a little more than a soap opera.  “They are right,” he said.  “Under the current circumstances, I won’t be a part of it.”

To continue in the job, would be distracting for the government, Mr. Rudd said.

“The simple truth is I cannot continue to serve as foreign minister if I do not have Prime Minister Gillard’s support,” he said.

“I therefore believe the only honorable thing, and the only honorable course of action, is for me to resign.”  Australia must be governed by the people, not party factions, Mr. Rudd said.

“I promise you this, there is no way, no way, that I will ever be part of a stealth attack on a sitting prime minister elected by the people,” he said.

“We all know that what happened then was wrong and it must never happen again.”

“It is now up to the caucus to decide on the leadership,” Mr. Rudd said.

“There is one overriding question for my caucus colleagues and that is who is best placed to defeat Tony Abbott at the next election,” Mr. Rudd said.  “Mr. Abbott, I believe, does not have the temperament or the experience to ever be elected to hold the high office of prime minister of Australia.  But at present and for a long time now he has been on track just to do that.”

February 22, 2012