Former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd was named as ambassador to the United States on Tuesday, a heavyweight appointment designed to boost Canberra’s voice in the US capital.
“Dr Rudd brings unmatched experience to the role,” Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said in announcing the move.
Rudd—a former foreign minister and fluent Chinese speaker—will be tasked with deepening defence collaboration, as Australia looks to boost its military capabilities with US technology.
Describing Rudd as one “of the world’s most eminent and sought-after experts on China and US–China relations,” Albanese said the appointment would send a signal about the importance of the relationship.
“The United States is Australia’s vital security ally and our closest global partner,” he said.
Rudd is currently head of the Asia Society, a US-based think tank, but is a frequent commentator on Australian and American politics.
He has been a vociferous critic of conservative US press baron Rupert Murdoch and former US president Donald Trump—who has announced his intention to run again in 2024.
Albanese dodged suggestions that Rudd’s opinions would overshadow his work.
“My expectations are very clear that Kevin Rudd will be an outstanding Australian representative in Washington DC and that will he will conduct himself in a way that brings great credit to Australia,” Albanese said.