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Rudd Government (2013)

The Honourable
Kevin Rudd
26th Prime Minister of Australia
In office
27 June 2013 – 18 September 2013
Monarch Elizabeth II, Queen of Australia
Governor General Quentin Bryce
Deputy Anthony Albanese
Preceded by Julia Gillard
Succeeded by Tony Abbott

The Second Rudd Government was the federal Executive Government of Australia of the Australian Labor Party, which commenced on 27 June 2013, led by Kevin Rudd as Prime Minister, and ceased on 18 September 2013.[1] Rudd had previously served a term as Prime Minister from 2007 to 2010 and been replaced by his deputy Julia Gillard, following an internal party spill. Rudd regained the Labor Party leadership by successfully re-challenging Gillard in a June 2013 party spill. On 5 August, Rudd called an election for 7 September 2013, which resulted in the defeat of his government by the Liberal/National Coalition led by Opposition Leader Tony Abbott.


  • Background 1
    • First Rudd Government 1.1
    • Gillard Government 1.2
    • Return of Rudd to leadership 1.3
  • Policy 2
    • Environment 2.1
      • Carbon pricing 2.1.1
    • Economy 2.2
    • Indigenous affairs 2.3
    • Immigration 2.4
      • Asylum seekers 2.4.1
    • Social policy 2.5
      • Marriage 2.5.1
    • Education 2.6
  • 2013 Federal Election 3
  • Aftermath 4
  • See also 5
  • References 6


First Rudd Government

Julia Gillard with then opposition leader Kevin Rudd in 2006. Gillard became prime minister by challenging Kevin Rudd's leadership of the Australian Labor Party in 2010. Rudd replaced Gillard in 2013 following another internal leadership ballot.

Kevin Rudd, born rural Queensland in 1957, a former diplomat and senior advisor to Queensland Premier Wayne Goss, entered Federal Parliament in 1998 as Member for Griffith and was appointed Shadow Foreign Affairs Minister in 2001.[2] Rudd teamed successfully with Julia Gillard to challenge Opposition Leader Kim Beazley and Deputy Leader Jenny Macklin respectively for leadership and deputy leadership of the Australian Labor Party and became Leader of the Opposition in 2006.[3] Rudd went on to lead the Australian Labor Party to victory at the 2007 federal election, defeating the incumbent Coalition Government led by John Howard.[4] His party had been in opposition for eleven years.[2] Despite an initial period of popularity, Rudd was to serve just two and a half years in office, and become one of the few Australian leaders to be removed by their own party during their first term as prime minister.[5]

In office, Rudd ratified the 2020 Summit. In economic policy, his government re-regulated the Labour market by rescinding the Howard Government's Workchoices reforms and responded to the Global Financial Crisis with a large stimulus spending program.[5] Rudd also dismantled the three pillars of the Howard Government's asylum seeker processing system - offshore processing, temporary protection visas, and turning back unauthorised boats at sea - dubbing them "ineffectual and wasteful".[6]

By 2010, Rudd's premiership faced difficulties. Following the failure of the Government's insulation program and amidst controversy regarding the implementation of a tax on mining, the failure of the government to secure passage of its Carbon Trading Scheme and some policy debate about immigration policy, significant disaffection had arisen within the Labor Party as to the leadership style and direction of Kevin Rudd.[7] A series of published and private opinion polls indicated that the Rudd Government's popularity had declined to a potentially election-losing position.[8][9] Kevin Rudd was challenged by Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard to a party leadership ballot, which was held on the morning of 24 June 2010. Rudd did not stand for re-election, and Gillard was elected unopposed as Labor leader and Prime Minister, thus ending the first Rudd Government.[10]

The Gillard Government narrowly survived the 2010 federal election, forming a minority government with the support of four crossbench MPs after the election produced a hung parliament.[11]

Gillard Government

Leadership rivalry remained between Rudd and Gillard. Rudd announced his resignation as foreign minister on 22 February, citing a lack of support from Julia Gillard and character attacks launched by Simon Crean and "a number of other faceless men" as the catalyst for his resignation.[12] Gillard called a leadership ballot for 27 February.[13][14] She also expanded upon the reasons for her original challenge of Rudd's leadership, saying that his government had entered a period of "paralysis" and that Rudd was operating along "difficult and chaotic work patterns".[13] senior ministers launched stinging attacks on Rudd's legacy as Prime Minister. Deputy Prime Minister Wayne Swan lambasted Rudd as "dysfunctional".[15][16] Gillard portrayed Rudd as a "chaotic" manager and would-be celebrity who led a "paralysed" government.[17] Rudd portrayed Gillard as untrustworthy and unable to win an election.[18] Rudd nominated Gillard's actions in relation to her promise not to implement a carbon tax; her East Timor and Malaysia Solution plans for asylum seekers; her written agreement with Andrew Wilkie on poker reforms and twelve months of low polling as key failings of Gillard's time in office.[19] In an emotional address, Minister Anthony Albanese announced that he had offered his resignation as Leader of the House of Representatives and would be supporting Rudd because he believed the manner in which he had been replaced in 2010 was wrong. Prime Minister Gillard refused to accept Albanese's resignation.[20] Gillard won the ballot by 71 votes to 31.[21]

Anthony Albanese supported Rudd's bids to be re-selected as leader of the Labor Party and became Deputy Prime Minister in the second Rudd Government.
In March 2013, amid criticism of Gillard's handling of media law reform proposals - called "shambolic" by a key crossbencher[22] - Chief Whip Joel Fitzgibbon confirmed that Labor Party members were "looking at the polls and expressing concerns".[23] On 21 March, Simon Crean called for a spill of all leadership positions and announced that he would support Kevin Rudd for leader and would himself stand for the deputy leadership. In response, Gillard sacked Crean from Cabinet and called a leadership spill for 4.30pm that afternoon.[24] Just 10 minutes prior to the scheduled ballot, Rudd announced that he would not stand in the ballot, saying:[25][26]
I have said that the only circumstances under which I would consider a return to leadership would be if there was an overwhelming majority of the parliamentary party requesting such a return, drafting me to return and the position was vacant...I am here to inform you that those circumstances do not exist.

Return of Rudd to leadership

Amid ongoing poor polling results for Labor, and continuing leadership rivalry, ABC journalist Barrie Cassidy triggered renewed leadership speculation on 9 June 2013 by expressing on the Insiders television programme a belief that Gillard would not lead Labor into the election.[27] On 10 June 2013, one Labor backbencher compared the Labor Party to the Titanic.[28] The ABC reported that "some former staunch supporters" hold the view that Gillard cannot win the election and on 14 June Western Sydney Labor MP John Murphy called on Gillard to step down in favour of Rudd;[29] On 22 June, The Age newspaper called upon Gillard to resign for the good of the Labor Party, the nation and the democratic process, "so that vigorous, policy-driven democratic debate can flourish once again".[30]

On 26 June 2013, with polls predicting a landslide defeat for the Gillard Government in the upcoming Federal Election,[31] Gillard announced another leadership spill to be held that evening, invited Kevin Rudd to challenge and proposed that the loser of the ballot resign from politics at the next election.[32] Rudd agreed to this condition and contested the ballot, and was elected leader by 57 votes to 45.[33]

Rudd was sworn in as Prime Minister by Governor-General Quentin Bryce on 27 June 2013.[34] Seven senior ministers resigned their positions, refusing to serve under Rudd and Gillard announced her intention not to re-contest her seat at the forthcoming election. Anthony Albanese was appointed as Deputy Prime Minister, and Chris Bowen was appointed Treasurer, replacing Wayne Swan.[35]

The Labor Party initially enjoyed a brief resurgence in opinion polls following Rudd's return to the leadership.[36] On 26 July, the Queensland Coroner brought down his report in relation to deaths brought about by the implementation of the first Rudd Government's insulation scheme economic stimulus package. The coroner found that the deaths of three men were the result of inadequate training for the installation of the roofing insulation, and criticised the Rudd Government for rushing through the pink batts program in a bid to stimulate the economy, noting "process failings" by federal agencies that led to "inadequate safeguards".[37] The parents of a victim criticised Rudd for never apologizing for his role in the scheme.[38]



Greg Combet, the Gillard Government's Minister for Climate Change, resigned following the return of Rudd to the leadership, saying that as he had been a strong Gillard supporter, "It is now important that Mr Rudd has a clear opportunity to argue Labor's case and to appoint his own team to take up the fight to Tony Abbott".[39] Soon after, he announced an intention to quit politics.[40] Mark Butler became the new Minister for Climate Change.

Carbon pricing

In July 2013, the Rudd Government announced its intention to bring forward, to July 2014, the replacement of the Gillard Government's controversial carbon tax with the proposed emissions trading scheme, if re-elected.[41] Rudd told the ABC in August that the government under his predecessor had "got it wrong" on introducing carbon tax "without mandate", saying: "I don't think our actions on the carbon tax were right. That's why I changed it and moved towards a floating price."[42] Rudd pledged prior at the time to "terminate" the "Carbon Tax", stating it would save the average family approximately $380 annually. [43]


Chris Bowen became Treasurer in the second Rudd Government.

Wayne Swan had served as Treasurer in the first Rudd Government, but resigned the post in view of the acrimonious relationship which had developed between him and Rudd over the intervening period, as did Trade Minister Craig Emerson.[39] Rudd appointed Chris Bowen to serve as Treasurer of Australia and retained Penny Wong as Minister for Finance. Wong also assumed the position of leader of the Government in the Senate, following the resignation of Gillard backer Stephen Conroy from that post.

Indigenous affairs

At the commencement of the 2007 election campaign and following John Howard's promise to call a referendum for recognition of indigenous Australians in the Australian Constitution, Rudd and Shadow Minister for Indigenous Affairs Jenny Macklin offered "bipartisan support to a commitment for constitutional recognition, regardless of the outcomes of the federal election".[44] Two days prior to the election, Rudd told The Australian that Labor would not be proceeding with the policy " in the first term of a Rudd Labor government, if at all".[45] In office, the Rudd Government did not pursue the issue further. The Gillard Government considered, and then shelved the plan.[46]

Following his return to the prime ministership, Rudd indicated that he had returned to supporting the initiative, in an address marking the 50th anniversary of the Yirrkala bark petitions, saying "I want this done in the next term of the Australian Parliament..." but said that the ball for this was in Opposition Leader Tony Abbott's court, who had had to "get his act together". In response, Abbott said that Rudd was politicising the issue, as the Opposition had already pledged to put forward a draft constitutional amendment for public consultation within the first 12 months, if elected.[46]


Asylum seekers

Protesters outside ALP caucus meeting in July 2013

In his second term as Prime Minister, Rudd renounced his opposition to offshore processing of asylum seekers in Papua New Guinea and Nauru. The flow of asylum seeker boat arrivals to Australia had re-emerged following the first Rudd Government's relaxation of border controls. Following an extended period of increasing boat arrivals and deaths at sea, Gillard announced a resumption of offshore processing in August 2012.[47] The restored Rudd shifted Labor's policy further, announcing that no asylum seekers arriving in Australia by boat being allowed to settled in Australia.[48]

Following talks with the Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea, Peter O'Neill, Rudd announced in July 2013 that all asylum seekers arriving to Australia by boat would be sent to Papua New Guinea for processing, to tackle people smuggling and refugees that seek asylum without a visa. The announcement was made by the Prime Minister, alongside Tony Burke and O'Neill. A new Regional Settlement Arrangement was also signed to implement the policy.[49][50] Following the announcement, detainees at the processing centre at Nauru rioted.[51] On 5 August, Rudd announced that asylum seekers would also be processed and "resettled" on the small Pacific island of Nauru. The leader of the Australian Greens, Christine Milne, called the announcement "absurd" on the basis that the island of only 21 square kilometres produced virtually no food, struggles to provide fresh water and could not absorb more people.[48]

Social policy


Five weeks before his final challenge for the Labor leadership, Rudd reversed his previous opposition to extending the definition of marriage under Australian law to include same-sex relationships. Rudd used a blogpost on his website on 20 May 2013 to announce: "I have come to the conclusion that church and state can have different positions and practices on the question of same sex marriage. I believe the secular Australian state should be able to recognise same sex marriage."[52] As Prime Minister during the 2013 Election Campaign, Rudd pledged to put a conscience vote on the issue to the Parliament within his first 100 days of office, if re-elected.[53] He was the first serving Prime Minister of Australia to indicate support for legal recognition of same-sex marriage. Asked by a New Hope Church pastor on the Q&A program why, "as a Christian", he didn't accept the Biblical notion of marriage, Rudd replied that "Well mate if I was going to have that view, The Bible also says that slavery is a natural condition", and that his change of position on marriage was based on a good, informed Christian conscience.[54][55] Rudd said that "people don't choose their sexuality" and implied that if The Bible were taken literally, slavery would still be legal.[55] The remarks were criticized by the Archbishop of Sydney, who said that Rudd had "misquoted the Bible and attributed to the Bible something that Aristotle said... The Bible sees slavery as the result of fallen and broken relationships in society and it is crystal clear in its condemnation of the slave trade...".[56]


Former education minister and Gillard supporter Peter Garrett resigned from Cabinet following the return of Rudd to the prime ministership, having promised prior to successive ballots that he could not serve under Rudd.[57] Bill Shorten switched his support from Gillard to Rudd in the 2013 leadership spill and was appointed as the new Education Minister, while retaining his Workplace Relations portfolio.[58] The Rudd Government enacted the $15.2 Better Schools Plan in July 2013. The Plan had been devised by the Gillard Government in response to the Gonski Report.[59]

2013 Federal Election

On 4 August 2013, Rudd announced that he had asked the Governor-General to dissolve parliament and that an election would take place on 7 September. Kevin Rudd and Opposition Leader Tony Abbott met for three debates during the campaign: appearing at the National Press Club in Canberra on 11 August, and addressing people's forums at the Broncos Leagues Club in Brisbane on 21 August, and the Rooty Hill RSL Club in Western Sydney on 28 August.[60][61][62] The Government criticised the Liberal Opposition's costings of policies. On 30 August, Treasury Secretary Martin Parkinson and Finance Department Secretary David Tune issued a rare public statement challenging the Government's claim that Treasury had found a $10 billion hole in the Opposition's policy costings, saying that any modelling used for costing policies submitted by the government before the election could not credibly be applied to opposition policies.[63][64]

On 15 August, Rudd announced a plan to give consideration to creating a special company tax regime and economic zone in the Northern Territory, if re-elected.[65] On 27 August, Rudd pledged $52 million towards a High Speed Rail Authority and other steps towards planning the construction of a $114 billion high speed rail project linking Brisbane to Melbourne by 2035.[66] On 28 August, Rudd announced a plan to give consideration to possibly relocating the Garden Island Naval Base from Sydney to Queensland. The proposal was met with a lukewarm reception, and defence officials did not support the plan.[67] [68]

On the evening of the election, Rudd conceded defeat by means of a triumphal speech with a "beaming smile". Rudd spoke to a jubilant crowd for over 20 minutes, said "Bill Glasson eat your heart out" (in reference to his local opponent in the seat of Griffith) and declared "I'm proud that despite all the prophets of doom, that we have preserved our federal parliamentary Labor Party as a viable fighting force for the future".[69][70] Tony Abbott's Liberal Party and Coalition partner, the National Party, led by Warren Truss, achieved a 3.65 percent two-party swing, winning 90 of the Australian House of Representatives seats to the Labor Party's 55.[71]


On the night of the election, Kevin Rudd announced that he would remain in Parliament as the Member for Griffith, but not seek to be elected Labor's next leader.[72] Outgoing ministers Craig Emerson and Nicola Roxon called on Rudd to resign from Parliament for the good of the Labor Party, predicting that his ongoing presence would be destabilizing. Emerson predicted that Rudd would stand for the leadership again, and said that he had sabotaged the Party's 2010 Election campaign with leaks and that "Anyone who does that, who is so hellbent on revenge, who is so destructive as to depress the Labor vote in the 2010 election shouldn't be rewarded for that sort of behaviour".[72] In a scathing address on 16 October, Roxon said that Rudd's replacement in 2010 had been an "act of political bastardry", but one which was justified because Rudd had been "a bastard himself to so many people".[73]

Under new leadership election rules instigated by the Second Rudd Government, the Labor Party allowed its Parliamentary Caucus, and - in a new initiative - its general membership to share a 50/50 split of the vote for parliamentary leader and Bill Shorten was elected to lead the Opposition, with 64% of the Caucus vote, defeating Anthony Albanese who obtained 60% of the general membership vote.[74]

See also


  1. ^ "Rudd sworn in as Australian PM after overthrowing Gillard". Reuters. 27 June 2013. Retrieved 27 June 2013. 
  2. ^ a b Australia's Prime Ministers: Kevin Rudd; National Archive of Australia; webpage viewed 28 August 2013
  3. ^ Tearful Beazley Bows Out; The Age; 4 December 2006
  4. ^ "Rudd romps to historic win". The Age. 25 November 2007. 
  5. ^ a b Australia's Prime Ministers: Kevin Rudd in Office; National Archive of Australia; webpage viewed 28 August 2013
  6. ^ "So many hopes dashed". Retrieved 2013-09-24. 
  7. ^ "ABC 7:30". 2010-06-24. Retrieved 2013-09-24. 
  8. ^ "Rudd's showdown at the Last Chance Saloon". Sydney Morning Herald. 7 June 2010. 
  9. ^ "The children's book, and lack of nerve, that undid Kevin Rudd". 26 June 2010. 
  10. ^ "Gillard ousts Rudd in bloodless coup". ABC News. 24 June 2010. 
  11. ^ "Labor to form government". Sydney Morning Herald. 7 September 2010. 
  12. ^ "Rudd resigns as foreign minister : World News Australia on SBS". Retrieved 25 April 2012. 
  13. ^ a b "Prime Minister Julia Gillard calls leadership ballot in response to Kevin Rudd resigning as foreign affairs minister". The Courier-Mail. Retrieved 2013-09-24. 
  14. ^ "Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard: The gunslingers face off—17,000 km apart". The Courier-Mail. 23 February 2012. 
  15. ^ Vasek, Lanai (23 February 2012). "Ministers line up to attack Rudd". The Australian. 
  16. ^ "Wayne Swan attacks 'dysfunctional' Kevin Rudd, accusing him of self-interest". Adelaide Now. 22 February 2012. Retrieved 25 April 2012. 
  17. ^ "Debate about leadership 'not an episode of Celebrity Big Brother', says Prime Minister". AAP. 24 February 2012. 
  18. ^ "Rudd takes swipe at Gillard – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)". Australia: ABC. 24 February 2012. Retrieved 25 April 2012. 
  19. ^ "'"Rudd: 'I was framed for Julia's mistakes. 24 February 2012. 
  20. ^ "Albanese declares hand for Rudd – Labor at War (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)". Australia: ABC. 25 February 2012. Retrieved 25 April 2012. 
  21. ^ "Julia Gillard defeats Kevin Rudd 71 votes to 31 in Labor caucus vote". The Australian. 27 February 2012. 
  22. ^ Griffiths, Emma (21 March 2013). "Wilkie deserts 'rushed' media bills". ABC News (Australia). Retrieved 22 March 2013. 
  23. ^ Griffiths, Emma (20 March 2013). "Fitzgibbon confirms Labor leadership discussions". ABC News (Australia). 
  24. ^ "Labor leadership crisis". ABC News (Australia). 21 March 2013. 
  25. ^ "Rudd ends speculation of another tilt". The Age. 22 March 2013. 
  26. ^ "As it happened: Gillard survives as challenge fizzles". ABC News (Australia). 14 March 2013. Retrieved 22 March 2013. 
  27. ^ Griffiths, Emma (11 June 2013). "Don't waste your breath, I'm leading Labor to the election: PM Julia Gillard". ABC News. Retrieved 23 June 2013. 
  28. ^ "Julia Gillard loses significant support among caucus". ABC. 9 June 2013. Retrieved 9 June 2013. 
  29. ^ AAP (15 June 2013). "Labor MP says Rudd should lead party". The West Australian. Retrieved 23 June 2013. 
  30. ^ "For the sake of the nation, Ms Gillard should stand aside" (Editorial). The Age. 22 June 2013. Retrieved 23 June 2013. 
  31. ^ "Poll delivers another crushing blow for Julia Gillard". The Australian. 24 June 2013. 
  32. ^ "Rudd, Gillard battle for Labor leadership". Sydney Morning Herald. 26 June 2013. 
  33. ^ "Kevin Rudd returns to Labor leadership after beating Julia Gillard with 57-45 victory". Daily Telegraph. 27 June 2013. 
  34. ^ "Rudd sworn in, says he will do his best". Herald Sun. 27 June 2013. 
  35. ^ Frontbench depleted, with 7 senior ministers refusing to serve under Rudd; The World Today; ABC Radio27 June 2013
  36. ^
  37. ^
  38. ^
  39. ^ a b
  40. ^
  41. ^ Johnson, Chris (14 July 2013). "Rudd dumps Gillard's carbon tax". The Age. Retrieved 15 July 2013. 
  42. ^ Kevin Rudd says Labor 'got it wrong' on introducing carbon tax without mandate; by Rosanna Ryan for; 25 August 2013
  43. ^ "PM Kevin Rudd reveals $3.8 billion price tag on decision to 'terminate' carbon tax". ABC News. Retrieved 25 August 2014. 
  44. ^ Reconciliation U-turn shows leader's true colours; by Noel Pearson; The Australian; 24 November 2007
  45. ^ Rudd to turn back boatpeople; by Paul Kelly and Dennis Shanahan; The Australian; 23 November 2007.
  46. ^ a b "Yirrkala, 50 years on: Kevin Rudd flags fresh push on Indigenous constitutional recognition". 2013-07-10. Retrieved 2013-09-24. 
  47. ^ (13 August 2012) Ben Packham. Labor to act quickly to reopen Nauru, PNG asylum-seeker processing centres. The Australian. News Limited. Retrieved 26 July 2013.
  48. ^ a b "Kevin Rudd announces new asylum seeker processing and refugee settlement deal with Nauru". Retrieved 2013-09-24. 
  49. ^ Swan, Jonathan (19 July 2013). "Kevin Rudd to send asylum seekers who arrive by boat to Papua New Guinea". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 19 July 2013. 
  50. ^
  51. ^ Campbell, Kieran (2013-07-20). "Riot on Nauru in wake of Rudd PNG asylum boat solution". Retrieved 2013-09-24. 
  52. ^
  53. ^ Elston, Rhiannon (2013-07-14). "Kevin Rudd launches gay marriage campaign". Retrieved 2013-09-24. 
  54. ^ Unrepentant pastor glad he asked Rudd gay question; APN Newsdesk; 3 September 2013
  55. ^ a b Kevin Rudd launches passionate defence of gay marriage ; By Jonathan Pearlman; The Telegraph; 4 September 2013
  56. ^ Scripture is simply all Greek to Rudd; Rick Morton, The Australian; 4 September 2013
  57. ^
  58. ^
  59. ^
  60. ^ Jones, Gemma (2013-08-11). "Election 2013: Economy dominates leadership debate as Kevin Rudd and Tony Abbott face off". Retrieved 2013-09-24. 
  61. ^ "PM Rudd kicks off televised forum". 2013-08-21. Retrieved 2013-09-24. 
  62. ^ "As it happened: Kevin Rudd and Tony Abbott hold third leaders' debate after Coalition releases more costings". Retrieved 2013-09-24. 
  63. ^ Statement on Costings by the Department of the Treasury and the Department of Finance and Deregulation; Joint media release with the Department of Finance and Deregulation; 29 August 2013
  64. ^ Bianca Hall (2012-03-21). "Labor campaign in 'tatters', says Coalition, as government defends costings claim". Retrieved 2013-09-24. 
  65. ^ Marszalek, Jessica (2013-08-15). "Prime Minister Kevin Rudd unveils plan for Northern Territory". Retrieved 2013-09-24. 
  66. ^ "Kevin Rudd pledges funding towards high-speed rail network on east coast". Retrieved 2013-09-24. 
  67. ^ "The World Today - Barry O'Farrell clashes again with Kevin Rudd, this time over the National Disability Insurance scheme". 2013-03-28. Retrieved 2013-09-24. 
  68. ^ . ABC News Retrieved 25 August 2014. 
  69. ^
  70. ^
  71. ^
  72. ^ a b
  73. ^
  74. ^
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