Former prime minister Kevin Rudd has been appointed as Australia’s next ambassador to the United States.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese announced Dr Rudd’s appointment on Tuesday (20 December) at a press conference alongside Foreign Minister Penny Wong ahead of her departure to Beijing for a highly anticipated meeting with China’s foreign minister.
“Dr Rudd brings unmatched experience to the role,” Mr Albanese said.
“He has served as Prime Minister, Foreign Minister, held prominent academic roles and worked extensively in the United States. It is intended that he will commence his posting in early 2023.
“Joining Dr Rudd in the United States is Ms Heather Ridout AO as Australia’s Consul-General in New York. She is the first woman to be appointed to the role. A former Chief Executive of the Australian Industry Group, Ms Ridout brings four decades of experience to the role. She is currently a director of Sims Ltd and a director of Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) Limited.”
Dr Rudd, currently the head of the Asia Society think tank, will succeed former Liberal senator Arthur Sinodinos, whose three-year term expires in February.
The Washington posting is regarded as the most prestigious role in the Australian diplomatic service. It is usually granted to a former senior politician from the party in power rather than a career public servant.
Mr Albanese and Dr Rudd were allies in parliament and have remained close since Dr Rudd’s retirement from politics.
Mr Albanese also announced Ms Bronte Moules as Australia’s inaugural Ambassador for Human Rights.
“As Ambassador for Human Rights, Ms Moules will lead Australia’s work to protect and promote human rights globally and be a key advocate on issues of importance to our region,” he said.
“Ms Stephanie Copus-Campbell has been appointed Australia’s Ambassador for Gender Equality. Ms Copus-Campbell will deepen Australia’s international engagement on gender equality with her expertise in community development, gender equality and health.”
Mr Albanese also announced the appointment of the following career diplomats to lead Australian posts:
- Ms Sophie Davies as Australia’s Ambassador to Brazil
- Dr Ralph King as Australia’s Ambassador to Israel
- Ms Sonya Koppe as Australia’s High Commissioner to Trinidad and Tobago
- Ms Minoli Perera as Australia’s Ambassador to Zimbabwe
- Mr Richard Rodgers as Australia’s Ambassador to Croatia, and
- Ms Phoebe Smith as Australia’s High Commissioner to the Cook Islands.