Prime Minister from 23 December 2007 to 24 June 2010
A former diplomat and longtime Labor Party member, Kevin Michael Rudd became Australia's 26th prime minister in 2007, unseating John Howard's Liberal-National Party coalition at the general election.
Rudd did not have strong factional support and was known for his enthusiasm for policy. This was the first election where digital communications technologies played a key role, and Rudd's understanding of the media paid off, with a 23-seat swing to Labor at the polls.
His election campaign used social media to provide 'candid' moments, popularising the 'Kevin 07' slogan, showing Rudd taking selfies with supporters, and positioning him as up-to-date with emerging technologies.
Rudd's first priorities in government were to ratify the Kyoto Protocol on greenhouse gas emissions, which he did on his first day in office.
He also made a formal National Apology to the Stolen Generations. Labor had campaigned on an ambitious platform of environmental, educational, healthcare, and industrial reform; but the global financial crisis (GFC) became the Rudd government's most pressing challenge.
Rudd was praised for his handling of the GFC, but his government was criticised for changing its approach to climate change policy and mishandling the implementation of schemes such as the home insulation program. Rudd was replaced as prime minister by Julia Gillard. Rudd later challenged Gillard in the party room, and was reinstated for a short second prime ministerial term.