Rudd grew up on a dairy farm.
Rudd grew up on a dairy farm.
He boarded at Marist College Ashgrove in Brisbane although these years were not happy due to the indignity of poverty and reliance on charity – he was known to be a "charity case" due to his father's sudden death; and, he has since described the school as "... tough, harsh, unforgiving, institutional Catholicism of the old school." Two years later, after she retrained as a nurse, his mother moved the family to Nambour, and Rudd rebuilt his standing through study and scholastic application and was dux of Nambour State High School in 1974.
Rudd studied at the Australian National University in Canberra where he resided at Burgmann College and graduated with First Class Honours in Arts (Asian Studies). He majored in Chinese language and Chinese history, became proficient in Mandarin and acquired a Chinese name, Lù Kèwén (Chinese: 陸克文 or in simplified Chinese: 陆克文).
After the Goss Government lost office in 1996, Rudd was hired as a Senior China Consultant by the accounting firm KPMG Australia. Rudd was first elected to the House of Representatives for Griffith at the 1998 federal election, joining the Shadow Cabinet in 2001 as Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs.
In December 2006, he successfully challenged Kim Beazley to become the Leader of the Labor Party, subsequently becoming the Leader of the Opposition. Under Rudd, Labor overtook the incumbent Liberal/National Coalition led by John Howard in the polls, as Labor made a number of policy announcements on areas such as industrial relations, climate change, an "education revolution", a National Broadband Network, and health.
Labor won the 2007 federal election with a 23-seat swing, and Rudd was sworn in as the 26th Prime Minister of Australia on 3 December. The Rudd Government's first acts included signing the Kyoto Protocol and delivering an apology to Indigenous Australians for the stolen generations. The previous government's industrial relations legislation, WorkChoices, was largely dismantled, Australia's remaining Iraq War combat personnel were withdrawn, and the "Australia 2020 Summit" was held. In response to the global financial crisis, the government provided economic stimulus packages, and Australia was one of the few western countries to avoid the late-2000s recession.
Despite a long period of high popularity in opinion polls, a significant fall in Rudd's personal ratings was blamed on a proposed Resource Super Profits Tax and the deferral of the Senate-rejected Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme. With the next election drawing near, there was growing dissatisfaction with Rudd's leadership within the Labor Party. Eventually, Rudd's deputy, Julia Gillard, announced on 23 June 2010 that she would challenge him for the leadership the following day. Knowing he would be defeated if he contested the leadership, on the morning of the ballot Rudd resigned as Prime Minister.
After his resignation, he successfully recontested his seat at the 2010 federal election, after which Labor formed a minority government. He was subsequently promoted back to the Cabinet by Julia Gillard as Minister for Foreign Affairs, a post he remained in until he resigned on 22 February 2012 in an ultimately futile attempt to challenge Gillard for the leadership.