Former prime minister Kevin Rudd calls shock end to turbulent career

PHILLIP HUDSON

NEWS LIMITED NETWORK

NOVEMBER 13, 2013 11:24PM

KEVIN Rudd, deposed as prime minister once by his party and a second time by the voters, tearfully declared he would quit federal politics immediately.

The pressure on his family was too great after 15 years in Parliament, he told fellow MPs on Wednesday night.

Tears in his eyes, Mr Rudd told the House of Representatives: ”It really is time for me to zip.”

His resignation, two months after his federal election defeat, follows that of the woman who deposed him and whom he in turn deposed, Julia Gillard.

Teary Kevin Rudd resigns

Kevin Rudd wipes away the tears after resigning. Picture: Kym Smith

HAVE YOUR SAY: Did Kevin Rudd make the right decision?

Mr Rudd’s decision will trigger a by-election in his Brisbane seat of Griffith and the first ballot box showdown between Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten.

The by-election is likely to be early next year and former AMA president Bill Glasson would be a hot favourite to win the seat for the Liberals.

Mr Rudd received a standing ovation in Parliament.

Mr Abbott led the tributes to him, calling Mr Rudd one of the ”big figures” in Australian life.

In recent weeks senior Labor figures, including former minister Nicola Roxon, have called on Mr Rudd to quit.

Kevin Rudd

Bill Shorten seeks to comfort Kevin Rudd after he resigned from Parliament. Picture: Kym Smith

Mr Rudd said attacks on him had been ”hurtful”.

After several months of soul-searching with his family, he said he had decided ”It is time … for the baton unequivocally to be passed to others”.

”For our families … I believe it becomes harder, not easier, with the passing of the years and it affects their ability to get on building their own lives and careers. My family have given their all for me in public life … It is now time I gave something back to them.”

Mr Rudd became Australia’s 26th prime minister in 2007 after he defeated Australia’s second-longest-serving PM, John Howard.

He was torn down by Julia Gillard and his own party in his first term, but took back the job in June after a couple of failed attempts.

Mr Rudd said he intended to be active in international relations, especially on Australia being a bridge between China and America.

Mr Rudd said it was a great honour to have been prime minister and he wished Mr Abbott well in what he said was ”the hardest job in the land”.

In praising his wife, Therese Rein, Mr Rudd said his announcement came on their 32nd wedding anniversary.

 

The Herald Sun

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