Kevin Rudd pushed for job as Bob Carr’s US Ambassador Gareth Evans

“It would give us a status and cachet in Washington that no other former politician or bureaucrat could bring.”

Gareth Evans, Labor’s longest-serving foreign secretary, agreed with Carr, saying Rudd would make a “good ambassador” but wondered if he would want the job.

Bob Carr in his role as Secretary of State in 2013 with Kevin Rudd.Recognition:Andrew Meares

In recent times, both sides of politics have selected prominent former politicians for the top diplomatic posts in London and Washington in place of career officials.

Smith was considered a top contender for the Washington post because of his defense portfolio experience and his time on the board of directors of the Perth USAsia Center.

Senior Labor sources said Rudd was increasingly seen by many in the party as the logical choice for the role but had never been offered the role or given his name.


Albanese and Rudd were close allies during the turbulent Rudd-Gillard era and have remained close allies since Rudd’s departure from Parliament.

Carr said Rudd’s qualifications for the job were “exceptional.”

“Most importantly, he could engage the full spectrum of US political opinion — including potential Republican presidential candidates — through diplomatic means to avoid a war over Taiwan,” Carr said.

Former Liberal Senator Arthur Sinodinos’ term as US ambassador ends in February, and the government has said it will announce his successor by then.

Former Labor frontbencher Stephen Conroy, who was considered a possible contender for Washington, has publicly stated he is not interested in the post for family reasons.

A spokesman for Rudd said: “Mr Rudd is very happy in New York where he runs a leading US think tank focused on Asia and China.

“He is also an established scholar and writer on Chinese politics and foreign policy, collaborating with governments and corporations around the world on China policy issues.

“For these reasons, Mr. Rudd has no plans to step down from his position as Global President of the Asia Society.”

Evans, who was secretary of state from 1988 to 1996, said Rudd was “very well respected by the American political elite for good reason and would make a good ambassador.”

“But I’m not sure why, given the level of access and influence he now enjoys as President of the Asia Society, he would want the job, which may not be as easy to replicate as an ambassador given the protocols involved.” , he said.

Announcing Smith’s appointment last month, Wong said she wants to refocus the nation’s diplomatic corps toward qualified senior officials and away from former politicians.

“It may also be a clear advantage for Australia to be represented by people who do that
have had distinguished careers outside of the civil service, such as businessmen and former MPs,” she said.

Stanley Bruce, Australia’s eighth Prime Minister, later served as High Commissioner for the United Kingdom after his time in Parliament came to an end.

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