A conversation on china - u.s. relations - KEVIN RUDD

Kevin Rudd joined us in St Andrews on Monday 06 November

Mr. Rudd served as Australia’s 26th Prime Minister (2007-2010, 2013) and as Foreign Minister (2010-2012). He led Australia’s response during the Global Financial Crisis, reviewed by the IMF as the most effective stimulus strategy of all member states. Australia was the only major developed economy not to go into recession. Mr. Rudd helped found the G20 to drive the global response to the crisis, and which in 2009 helped prevent the crisis from spiraling into depression.

As Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, Mr. Rudd was active in global and regional foreign policy leadership. He was a driving force in expanding the East Asia Summit to include both the U.S. and Russia in 2010, and initiated the concept of transforming the EAS into a wider Asia Pacific Community. On climate change, Mr. Rudd ratified the Kyoto Protocol in 2007 and legislated in 2008 for a 20 percent mandatory renewable energy target for Australia. He represented Australia at the 2009 Copenhagen Climate Change Summit which produced the Copenhagen Accord, for the first time committing states to not allow temperature increases beyond two degrees. He was appointed a member of the UN Secretary-General’s High Level Panel on Global Sustainability and is a co-author of the report Resilient People, Resilient Planet for the 2012 Rio+20 Conference. Mr. Rudd drove Australia’s successful bid for its non-permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council for 2012-2014. His government also saw the near doubling of Australia’s foreign aid budget to approximately $5 billion, making Australia then one of the top ten aid donors in the world. He also appointed Australia’s first ever Ambassador for Women and Girls to support the critical role of women in development and reduce physical and sexual violence against women.

Domestically, Mr. Rudd delivered Australia’s formal national apology to indigenous Australians. In education, his government introduced Australia’s first-ever nationwide school curriculum, undertook the biggest-ever capital investment program in Australian schools with the building of thousands of new state of the art libraries across the country, as well as introducing the first-ever mandatory national assessment system of literacy and numeracy standards. In health, Mr. Rudd in 2010 negotiated with the Australian states a National Health and Hospitals Reform Agreement, the biggest reform and investment in the health system since the introduction of Medicare 30 years before. His government established a national network of leading-edge cancer care centers across Australia, before introducing the world’s first ever plain-packaging regime for all tobacco products. To improve the rate of organ and tissue donation, he established Australia’s first National Organ and Tissue Transplant Authority. In 2010, his government introduced Australia’s first-ever paid parental leave scheme and implemented the biggest increase in, and reform of, the age pension since federation. He also founded the National Broadband Network to deliver high-speed broadband for every household, business, school, hospital, and GP in the country.