Thursday, June 24, 2010


Rudd proud of his achievements
12:35 AEST Thu Jun 24 2010

An emotional Kevin Rudd says he's proud of his achievements as prime minister, including getting rid of Work Choices and weathering the global economic crisis.

Mr Rudd, clearly struggling for words during a press conference at Parliament House, said he had given the job his "absolute best."

"I have given my absolute all," Mr Rudd said, speaking about two hours after he stood down as Labor leader to make way for deputy Julia Gillard.

"I was elected by the Australian people as the prime minister ... to bring back a fair go for all Australians," he said.

"I have given my absolute best to do that.

Mr Rudd struggled to speak as he talked about his government's efforts on cancer.

"I'm proud of the fact that we are building 20 regional cancer centres right across our country," he said.

"You know, if you go out there and people are suffering from cancer it does alter your priorities."

Mr Rudd then paused as he tried to regain his composure.

Mr Rudd was flanked by his wife Therese and his three children, Marcus, Jessica and Nicholas.

He said he was proud of having kept Australia out of recession, an effort which had saved half a million Australians from losing their jobs.

Mr Rudd was emotional as he spoke of his government's work in lifting organ donation rates.

He was forced to stop speaking a number of times as he struggled to get words out, his voice wavering.

"As somebody who borrowed someone else's aortic valve, I feel a particular responsibility for that," he said.

"There's nothing like having a bit of somebody else in you.

"It focuses the mind, and in my case also focuses the heart."

Mr Rudd let out a deep sigh as he reflected on the importance of health.

Mr Rudd said he remained proud of the government's three unsuccessful efforts to get the emissions trading scheme through parliament.

"If I had one point of future policy it must be our ambition to pass a carbon pollution reduction scheme within this parliament, the one that follows I mean," he said.

"So that we can make a difference, a real difference to climate change."

Mr Rudd ran through a list of other issues he was proud to have taken part in, including increasing the aged single pension, apologising to the stolen generations, and efforts on climate change.

"What I'm less proud of is the fact that I have now blubbered," he said with a chuckle, prompting Therese to put a comforting arm around his shoulder.

After listing a raft of things of which he was proud, Mr Rudd said it had been a very busy two-and-half years.

"We have thrown our absolute all at this," he said.

"I believe that when we look back at this, these reforms will endure into the future and make Australia I believe a fairer and better place than it would otherwise have been."

Mr Rudd thanked the Australian people for giving him their trust.

"It is a high honour to be elected prime minister of Australia."

He also thanked Labor party members, saying he had been a member for the past 25 years, and would likely be one for the next 25 years.

He had kind words for Labor's federal parliamentary team.

"Good women and men each one of them, each one of them," he said, adding they were committed to bringing about a fairer and better Australia.

Mr Rudd thanked his staff, most notably his chief of staff Alister Jordan who he described as "an extraordinary young man".

There was also a word of thanks for God.

"This is probably not the occasion for high statements of theology," he said.

"But to the great God and creator of us all, I thank him, or her, as well."

Mr Rudd said he would recontest the next election in his Brisbane seat of Griffith.

He also left open the prospect of taking a frontbench position in the new Gillard government.

"As for serving this government in the future, I will of course serve it in any manner in which I can be of assistance," he said.

Mr Rudd thanked his family, who stood by his side in the prime minister's courtyard.

"They are wonderful human beings," he said.

Mr Rudd said he would continue fighting to defeat the opposition at the election, likely later this year.

"I will be dedicating my every effort to ensure the re-election of this Australian Labor government," he said.

"It is a good government with a good program and it deserves re-election."

Mr Rudd then praised the new leader, Julia Gillard.

"They are a good team lead by a good prime minister," he said.

Mr Rudd thanked his ministry and his cabinet.

"I could not have had a better team," he said.

"These are head and shoulders above those who oppose them in parliament.

"I've been blessed and aided by the fact that they given every ounce of their intelligence, every ounce of their energy, every ounce of their ability to delivering the reforms and many others beside."

He also thanked the constituents of Griffith, who he has represented as MP since 1998.

"I thank the good people of Griffith, my electorate, for putting up with me as their local member - recently somewhat missing in action," he said.

"They are good people. It is a great community. I love it and I love them dearly."

Courtesy of National Nine News

It's amazing (and scary) how things can change overnight in politics.

I'm completely, and utterly, shocked.

Mr Rudd was right. He was elected by the Australian people to be the prime minister, and I personally believe that no one other than the people has the right to take away his rights to run the full term.

Even though he only had kind words for the Labor party, I don't.

Shame on you, Labor, shame on you!

The Australian people did not elect Julia Gillard, and I doubt they will in the looming election.

The only person who left the stage gracefully in this whole event is Kevin Rudd, regardless of what he's done or failed to do in the past 2-and-a-half year.

Not Julia Gillard.

And definitely not Labor.