Kevin Rudd has told The House of Representatives he is quitting politics.
The former prime minister and member for the Brisbane electorate of Griffith announced his departure in a speech this evening, and was farewelled with a standing ovation.
Rudd won the seat, which he has held since 1998, at the September 7 federal election. At the time he was the leader of the Labor Party.
He finished his address on a light note, using one of the catch phrases he became known for during his time in parliament: “It really is time for me to zip.”
Rudd, according to The ABC, said the decision had been taken for family reasons.
“[M]y family is everything, always has been, always will be, which is why I will not be continuing as a member of this parliament beyond this week.”
Prime Minister Tony Abbott, according to Fairfax, congratulated Rudd, saying he had been a major figure in Australian public life — regardless of their different views.
“Whether we have been his friends or his foes or at times both, this is a significant moment in the life of this Parliament, to lose someone who has been one of the big figures in this Parliament and one of the big figures in the public life of this country.”
Rudd is known for his work ethic, intellect as well as his autocratic management style. He was ousted by former prime minister Julia Gillard in 2010, before reclaiming the Labor leadership just before the most recent federal election.
Before this he was a candidate in several failed attempts to unseat Gillard, against a backdrop of division and internal politics which — along with several key reforms — characterised Labor’s time in power.
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