Kevin Michael Rudd.
Prime Minister of Australia, Leader of the Labor Party.
Griffith, Queensland. Elected November 1998.
21/09/1957 in Nambour, Australia.
Married to Theres Rein. Father to Jessica, Nicholas and Marcus.
Rudd spent most of the 1980s overseas while working for the Department of Defence, before becoming involved in politics in 1988 as Chief of Staff to then Queensland Opposition Leader Wayne Goss. He remained with Goss after he was elected Premier in 1989 until 1995. Fluent in Mandarin and with a keen interest in Asia, Rudd was hired as a Senior China Consultant by the accounting firm KPMG Australia in 1996, before winning the Queensland seat of Griffith for Labor in the 1998 federal election.
Rise to power
- 4 Dec 2006: Rudd won the ALP leadership from Kim Beazley who had called a spill. Julia Gillard was elected Rudd’s deputy.
- 24 Nov 2007: The Kevin ‘O7 campaign led Rudd to a landslide victory over John Howard. Rudd became Prime Minister.
- 24 Jun 2010: With dwindling party support and under pressure from Gillard, Rudd called a leadership vote but stood down before the ballot was held. Gillard was elected party leader unopposed and became PM.
- 22 Feb 2012: Rudd abruptly resigned as Foreign Affairs Minister claiming he had lost the support of Gillard and senior ministers. The PM called a leadership vote on 27 Feb, Rudd stood but was unsuccessful, promising that he would not initiate any further leadership challenges against Gillard but not ruling out becoming party leader again at a later date.
- 26 Jun 2013: Rudd defeated Gillard 57-45 after the PM called a leadership spill. Rudd became Labor leader and subsequently Prime Minister for the second time.He is the first former PM to return to the office since Robert Menzies in 1949.
Key election policies
- Offshore processing of asylum seekers in PNG.
- Axe carbon tax in favour of an emissions trading scheme.
- Education reforms (Gonski).
- Labor party reforms.
- Gay marriage.
- 19 Aug 2007: It is revealed that while in New York City as Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs in 2003, Rudd had visited a strip club.
- Feb 2012: An expletive-laden video of out-takes of Rudd attempting to record a Chinese language message during his time as Prime Minister was released anonymously on YouTube.
- Rudd’s nephew, Van Thanh Rudd, a member of the Revolutionary Socialist Party, has received occasional media coverage for his activism and controversial artworks.
- As a child, Rudd’s family struggled financially after the sudden death of his father. Rudd suffered taunts of “charity case” at school because of the family’s poverty.
- Suffering rheumatic heart disease, in 1993 and again in 2011 Rudd underwent a cardiac valve transplant.
- He speaks fluent Mandarin.
- The family cat, Jasper, achieved internet celebrity status after becoming a regular character in Crikey’s First Dog on The Moon cartoons. His death in October 2012 was announced on Twitter and reported on by the major newspapers
Anthony John Abbott.
Leader of the Opposition, Leader of the Liberal Party.
Warringah, New South Wales. Elected March 1994.
04/11/1957 in London, England.
Married to Margaret. Father to Louise, Bridget and Frances.
Abbott trained as a Romand Catholic priest in the mid 1980s before working as a journalist, business manager and political advisor.
Rise to power
- 2007: Following the Liberal party’s election defeat and the resignation of John Howard, Abbott nominated for the leadership then withdrew his name before the ballot. He was appointed to the Shadow portfolio of Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs by newly elected Opposition Leader Brendan Nelson.
- 26 Nov 2009: Abbott resigned from his portfolio in protest against current Opposition Leader Malcolm Turnbull’s support for the Rudd Government’s Emissions Trading Scheme.
- 1 Dec 2009: Abbott became Leader of the Liberal Party and Opposition Leader after challenging Turnbull.
- 21 Aug 2010: A hung parliament is produced by the election result. Abbott failed to win support of crossbenchers in order to form government. Gillard and the ALP retained power.
Key election policies
- ‘Turn back’ asylum seeker boats.
- Repeal the carbon tax and Minerals Resources Rent Tax.
- Overhaul finance sector regulation.
- Lower taxes, reduce red tape for small business and create jobs.
- Strengthen laws applying to registered organisations (eg, trade unions)
- While at university, Abbott was accused of indecent assault by the female editor of a student newspaper. The charges were dismissed by the court and Abbott has claimed it was “a completely fictional incident”.
- In 1998 Abbott established a trust fund to bankroll civil court cases against One Nation party founders Pauline Hanson and David Ettridge, who were subsequently imprisoned. The conviction against Hanson was ultimately overturned.
- In 2004 it was revealed that at the age of 19 Abbott had fathered a child who was put up for adoption. The boy had become an ABC sound recordist working at Parliament House and involved in the making of television programs in which Abbott appeared. DNA testing later revealed that Abbott was not the man’s father.
- In October 2007, as Minister for Health, Abbott said of dying asbestos campaigner Bernie Banton “just because a person is sick doesn’t mean that he is necessarily pure of heart in all things.” He later apologised.
- Abbott’s Catholicism and traditionalist beliefs have been the subject of media commentary, with suggestions he polarises female voters.
- Abbott is a volunteer member of the NSW Rural Fire Service.
- He has four published books.
- As Opposition spokesman on Indigenous Affairs, Abbott spent several weeks teaching in a remote Aboriginal settlements in 2008-09.
- A keen sportsman, Abbott regularly participates in events for charity.