Former prime minister Kevin Rudd posted to Washington as Australia’s new US ambassador

Home Politics Former prime minister Kevin Rudd posted to Washington as Australia’s new US ambassador
Former prime minister Kevin Rudd posted to Washington as Australia’s new US ambassador

Former prime minister Kevin Rudd will be sent to Washington DC as Australia’s new ambassador to the United States.

Mr Rudd will commence the posting early next year, replacing Arthur Sinodinos.

Announcing the role, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said Mr Rudd had extensive experience and connections in the US.

“Kevin Rudd is an outstanding appointment, he brings a great deal of credit to Australia by agreeing to this appointment,” Mr Albanese said.

“As someone who has links to the global community in Washington DC, he will be a major asset.”

Mr Rudd was most recently serving as chief executive of international relations institute the Asia Society, spending most of the past decade in the US where he worked with American politicians and business people.

Kevin Rudd sits at a desk with a microphone in front of him
Kevin Rudd will be Australia’s next ambassador to the United States.(ABC News: Tamara Penniket)

In recent years he has also fronted a campaign for a royal commission into the Rupert Murdoch-owned international media organisation News Corp.

In a statement, Mr Rudd said he was honoured to accept the role.

“Australia currently faces its most challenging security and diplomatic environment for decades,” he said.

“Our national interest continues to be served, as it has for decades past, by the deepest and most effective strategic engagement of the United States in our region.” 

Mr Albanese and Foreign Minister Penny Wong said in a statement that the two countries were aligned by their goal to have an open, stable and prosperous region that “respected” sovereignty.

“Along with our deepening collaboration on defence, including through AUKUS, we have an extensive and mutually beneficial economic relationship with the United States, and we are making cooperation on climate change a hallmark of our alliance.”

Mr Rudd warned last year that the AUKUS deal left Australia “strategically naked” for two decades, with no replacement submarine program in the interim.

The former prime minister will take over from Mr Sinodinos, a former Liberal politician who was appointed in 2020.

Nick Greiner, another former Liberal politician who last year was appointed as consul-general in New York, will also be replaced by prominent business woman Heather Ridout.

Ms Ridout is a former chief executive of the Australian Industry Group.

Senator Wong said the government had appointed “a great many” career diplomats, but said there were occasions where political appointments to posts were preferred.

Mr Albanese said it was “entirely appropriate” for people with knowledge of political structures to be appointed to posts.

Shadow Foreign Minister Simon Birmingham said no diplomatic posting was more important than the one that would be filled by Mr Rudd.

“Over the years Australia’s ambassador in Washington has been ably filled by many who, in representing Australia’s interests, are close to and carry the ear of the prime minister of the day,” he said in a statement.

He said representing Australia’s interests in the AUKUS agreement would be a “most challenging undertaking” that would require Mr Rudd’s “unqualified support and attention”.

“The Coalition looks to Mr Rudd and all of the new appointments to deliver on Australia’s national interests first and foremost.”

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