SYDNEY: Newly reinstated Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd urged a “kinder, gentler” approach to politics Thursday as he strove to claw back ground ahead of September elections after deposing predecessor Julia Gillard in a dramatic party coup.
The 55-year-old returned to power in a snap leadership ballot on Wednesday, three years since he was himself ruthlessly ousted by Gillard, the country’s first female premier who will now retire from politics.
With his Labor party desperately fighting for electoral survival, Rudd used his first speech to parliament to acknowledge the brutal political saga.
“Political life is a very hard life, a very hard life indeed,” he said after being sworn in. “Occasionally it can be kind, more often it is not.”
He asked MPs to “be a little kinder and gentler with each other in the further deliberations of this parliament” while praising Gillard, who he had earlier vowed never to challenge.
“Through the difficult years of minority government the former prime minister has achieved major reforms for our nation that will shape our country’s future,” he said. “On top of all that, I acknowledge her great work as a standard-bearer for women in our country.”
Rudd’s resurrection marks a stunning turnaround for the former premier who will now lead Labor to elections scheduled for September 14, which polls had predicted Tony Abbott’s conservative opposition would win by a landslide.