February 3, 2023

Live news: Australia names former PM Kevin Rudd as next ambassador to Washington

Kevin Rudd, top centre, gathers with then Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, US president Barack Obama and Chinese leader Hu Jintao at the G20 meeting in 2009


Kevin Rudd, top centre, gathers with then Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, US president Barack Obama and Chinese leader Hu Jintao at the G20 meeting in 2009 © Dylan Martinez/Reuters

Australia on Tuesday named Kevin Rudd, a former prime minister, as the country’s next ambassador to the US.

In a joint statement, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and foreign minister Penny Wong said the appointment was “in keeping with past practice of appointing experienced former ministers to significant diplomatic posts”.

Although a former senior politician, Rudd also had a diplomatic career, serving in Stockholm and London, and most notably as first secretary in the Beijing embassy. A fluent Mandarin speaker, Rudd caused waves as prime minister between 2007 and 2010 by pursuing a “third way” in relations with Beijing, described as “between conflict and kowtow”.

“Rudd brings unmatched experience to the role,” the statement said, noting his service as prime minister, foreign minister and US experience as an academic. He will begin his Washington posting early next year.

Businesswoman Heather Ridout becomes Australia’s first female consul-general in New York. A former chief executive of the Australian Industry Group, a lobbying body, Ridout is also a director of the Australian Securities Exchange.

Canberra also named new envoys to Brazil, Cook Islands, Croatia, Israel, Trinidad and Tobago and Zimbabwe. Albanese and Wong said the appointments would “strengthen Australia’s diplomatic capability and its prosecution of our national interests around the globe”.



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