Albanese under fire after backflipping on Rudd appointment

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese dodges questions about the shock appointment of controversial former PM Kevin Rudd to the US Ambassador role.

Albanese under fire after backflipping on Rudd appointment
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Anthony Albanese - who only months ago said the idea that Kevin Rudd would be appointed US Ambassador was “complete nonsense” - yesterday defended his decision to appoint Kevin Rudd as US Ambassador.

The Prime Minister told reporters that Rudd had “unmatched experience” in foreign policy.

Albanese ignored repeated questions from journalists about Rudd’s character and management style.

Rudd’s Labor colleagues were scathing of him when he was dumped as leader back in 2010. They variously described him as a psychopath, a micromanager and a control freak.

“Is this the person who your government needs to have in Washington?” a journalist asked Albanese yesterday.

“He brings a great deal of credit to Australia by agreeing to take up this position as a former prime minister, as a former foreign minister, as someone who's been head of the Asia Society, and as someone who has links with the global community,” Mr Albanese said.

Other journalists asked if Rudd, known for his outspoken style, would effectively become a “second foreign minister”, based in the United States.

“Based in Washington, DC, will be a major asset in working to assist the Foreign Minister, as other ambassadors do in their job,” Albanese replied.

When Rudd was dumped from the top job his Labor colleague Steve Gibbons described him as a “psychopath with a giant ego”, while former treasurer Wayne Swan decried his “dysfunctional decision-making and his deeply demeaning attitude".

Albanese shot down suggestions during the federal election campaign that Rudd would be offered the plum Washington post as “complete nonsense” and, as recently as October, categorically denied that any approach had been made to Rudd.

Kevin Rudd himself took exception to suggestions that he might be in line to take up the role. In April he dismissed a report in The Australian newspaper suggesting he was being considered for the role as “total garbage.”

But on Tuesday Mr Rudd, who had previously said he had “zero plans” to leave his role as head of the New York-based Asia Society, welcomed the job opportunity and said he was “greatly honoured” to take up the appointment as US Ambassador.

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  • By Avi Yemini

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