How Parliament reacted to Kevin Rudd’s resignation
Prime Minister Tony Abbott: Certainly, that which I celebrate most of all, and which I am sure every single member of this House celebrates, is that extraordinary apology on the first day of the parliamentary sitting in 2008. Ancient wrongs were addressed. Ancient injustices were, at least in part, atoned for, and our country had a unifying and healing moment the like of which we very, very rarely see. It was a great moment in our history. To the credit of the member the Griffith, it happened because of him. Much as I admire, appreciate and put on a huge pedestal his immediate predecessor [John Howard], in this respect at least, his immediate predecessor had lacked the imagination to grasp that opportunity, and the member for Griffith, Kevin, had the decency to see that here was something that needed to be done.
Julia Gillard and Clive Palmer took to Twitter:
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten: He has been the Leader of the Labor Party during difficult circumstances for the party. He has been part of tumultuous debates within our party over the last few years. I do think that most fair-minded people will recognise that, when he returned to the task of prime minister in those weeks before the last election, at that point his contribution helped mean that the quality of Australian democracy was improved. Although Labor was unsuccessful at the election, I believe that his contribution in improving Labor’s electoral fortunes in a range of seats meant, even though the majority of Australian people selected the coalition to form the government, that they were well served by having a relatively strong opposition in numbers …
Treasurer Joe Hockey: I have seen the Kevin Rudd that many have not seen, including sharing semi-nakedness with him in a river in Papua New Guinea — an unforgettable experience, I must say!
Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull: The betrayal of you as leader of your party was one of the most shocking events I have ever witnessed, and I would think any of us have ever witnessed, in politics — the scale of it. The idea that the man who had won, in this presidential campaign, an election against John Howard was then going to be disposed of, discarded like another course on a lazy Susan in a Vietnamese restaurant — the cruelty of it was extraordinary! …
We did not have any relationship when I was Leader of the Opposition and you were Prime Minister, beyond the antagonistic one in this chamber. But after you lost the leadership I did get to know you a lot better. Initially, I was very worried about you, because I had known how low I had sunk in a much less difficult loss of leadership — a much less difficult loss of leadership. I was very worried about you. As I got to know you I realised what an extraordinarily tough individual you are … it is an extraordinary triumph of the human spirit that you could overcome those setbacks, that betrayal that would have crushed so many other people.
Shadow Infrastructure Minister Anthony Albanese: He could have retired having led Labor to victory in 2007; 2010 changed, and no one could have questioned what the outcomes might have been in 2010. He could have retired as an undefeated prime minister from the Australian electorate. He chose to put the party that he loves first, before his own interests and the interests of his family. And I thank him for that, because Labor is competitive.
Shadow Treasurer Chris Bowen: My proudest moment as a member of Parliament, some years ago, was sitting where the member for Ryan is currently sitting while Kevin Rudd delivered the apology to Australia’s indigenous people.
Deputy Leader of the Opposition Tanya Plibersek: He spoke to every expert, he read every piece of work, he asked every question and he investigated every issue as deeply as he possibly could. Colleagues will remember that we started to call it “kevidence” because it was the most evidence-based approach to these large questions of public policy that we had ever had in Australia — the most intellectual approach.
Speaker Bronwyn Bishop: In your candid baring of your emotions, and indeed part of your soul, you have evoked that spirit that I think binds the Parliament, whereas the fast and furious politics that divide us so often are the reality of the body politic.
Politicians speaking to the media about Rudd’s resignation
Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce: To be honest it’s [an] immense inconvenience to people who have already voted and have to go back and vote again. I’m sure Mr Rudd knew before tonight he possibly wasn’t going to see it through. I just think the people of Griffith are going to be asking the question “I don’t think you were fair dinkum with us mate”.
Independent Senator Nick Xenophon: It’s all about Kevin, it always has been, and it always will be.
Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop: Kevin Rudd was a political enigma. He became one of our most popular prime ministers as a Mandarin speaking, self-described nerd, but his fall at the hands of his colleagues was unprecedented in its brutality. Kevin certainly had his own way of doing things, often unconventional.
Greens leader Christine Milne: I think his apology in this Parliament will be the thing for which he was most remembered … It was a great day for the nation, and it was an important step towards reconciliation.
Here are some other MPs on Twitter:
Laura Tingle: A rare equal moment of bipartisan grace in the parliament from the leaders on both sides who have, one way or another, replaced him. — Australian Financial Review. Lenore Taylor: Rudd was not of the normal Labor party mould.– The Guardian. Michael Gordon: His work ethic, intelligence and vision are recognised by friend and foe. — SMH