Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Kevin Rudd retires from politics

While Twitterjaya was busy with the KJ - KPop and KJ - Siti Nurhaliza today, a tweet on my timeline caught my attention.

Kevin Rudd was Australia's 26th Prime Minister, first held Dec 07 - June 2010 when he defeated the Coalition led by then Prime Minister John Howard.

I was in Malaysia back in Dec 07 for my summer break but watched the campaign and elections closely. It was a brilliant election campaign - the Kevin 07 campaign.

It is either him or Kevin Rudd had good strategists. Labor Party picked a strong team with icons / popular figures like Maxine McKew who went on to unseat John Howard in Bennelong.

Kevin himself was also a sporting character. He was dancing with Kerri Anne Kennerley in the early part of 2007 (Dancing with KAK and Kevin , Sydney Morning Herald).

(Photo by Sydney Morning Herald, from the page Dancing with KAK and Kevin)

He even handled The Chasers very well when the comedians from ABC invited all of Kevin Rudd's Facebook friends to his house for a sleepover and even wanted to write on his "wall". Literally.

A sporting, friendly and professional politician indeed.

When I returned to Canberra in 2008 for my final year, I was there to watch perhaps one of the most historic moments in Australian history. The then Prime Minister of Australia, on behalf of the Government and people of Australia, apologized to Australia's Indigenous people on 13 Feb 2008. Let me share part of the speech or motion that was unanimously passed by Parliament

...The time has now come for the nation to turn a new page in Australia's history by righting the wrongs of the past and so moving forward with confidence to the future...

We apologise for the laws and policies of successive Parliaments and governments that have inflicted profound grief, suffering and loss on these our fellow Australians.

We apologise especially for the removal of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their families, their communities and their country.

For the pain, suffering and hurt of these stolen generations, their descendants and for their families left behind, we say sorry...

For those who are interested to read the whole text, click here. For those who wants to watch the video, click HERE.

Kevin Rudd was a key and instrumental figure in strengthening Australia's diplomatic and trade relations with China especially during the global financial crisis. Language was not a barrier as his proficiency in Chinese is 100 times better than me. Kevin Rudd holds a Bachelor of Arts in Asian Studies majoring in Chinese language and history from the Australian National University, Canberra.

His comeback as Prime Minister in 2013 to replace Julia Gillard was not enough to stop the slide of the Labor Party. If you have time, please watch the video of his speech after the election in which Labor Party lost to the Coalition led by Tony Abbott. I was glued to the screen throughout the whole 30 minutes - Part 1 and Part 2

I must show you here what he said when he conceded defeat to Tony Abbott in Sept 2013:  
"Tonight is the time to unite as the great Australian nation, because whatever our politics may be we are all first and foremost Australian".

In his farewell speech to the Parliament of Australia today, the MP of Griffith Kevin Rudd said:

"Madam Speaker, for the future my passion remains with indigenous reconciliation and in the year ahead I plan to establish a National Apology Foundation to keep alive the spirit and the substance of the apology I delivered in this place six years ago."

I will miss reading articles about him and will definitely miss watching his speeches on TV and Youtube. His dedication to the people of Australia and his leadership in Government represent those of a true leader and statesman.

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