Kevin Rudd was the 26th Prime Minister of Australia. Under his leadership, his party won the November 2007 election against former Prime Minister John Howard. As the new leader, he made major announcements about climate change, education, a national broadband network, and health. He will be remembered for a number of things, including his reading of an apology to the Indigenous Australians for the 'stolen generations.'
Mr Rudd started well, gaining fairly broad rapport with the general population and giving some inspiring speeches. Over time, his popularity declined and he didn't deliver on a number of his promises. Was this due to an inability or lack of discipline to implement change or did he lack internal support for his change agenda? Whatever the case, it became clear that he had lost the support of key factions within his party and on June 24th, 2010 he stepped down as the leader of the Labor Party. He became the first Labor Prime Minister not to complete his first term in office.
I had the privilege of meeting Mr Rudd a number of times in Canberra and he visited our church once before he became the Prime Minister. He always came across as a genuine, likable and sincere person. Behind the scenes, the story seems a little different, as there was a lot of staff turnover under his leadership and claims of occasional anger outbursts. This is concerning, as good leadership requires both competence and character (see blog article by Rob Buckingham on 'Leaders Behaving Badly').
Whatever your opinion of Mr Rudd, being ousted from leadership as he was would be a painful experience for anyone to have to go through. Mr Rudd deserves our sympathy, our gratitude for his overall service to our nation, and our prayers as he moves forward into his next season of life.
P.S. Click here for some reflections by Tim Costello, CEO of World Vision, on Mr Rudd leadership.