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Former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd could become Australia’s next ambassador to Washington if Labor wins the federal election.  

Anthony Albanese has told some senior party colleagues he is ‘in favour’ of appointing Mr Rudd for Australia’s highest diplomatic post, The Australian reports.  

Senior Labor leaders who support he plan say he has solid credentials for the Washington job after he served as a diplomat. 

If Mr Rudd gets the gig, he would be reporting directly to Mr Albanese’s foreign minister Penny Wong. 

But others in senior Labor ranks have warned that his appointment could pose problems for an Albanese government due to his ‘status’ as a former prime minister and his hunger for maintaining a large public profile.

They worry his appointment could be a mistake if he continues to speak out on policy independently, beyond serving the interests of the Australian government.

Anthony Albanese has remained a huge supporter of Kevin Rudd, and reportedly told senior Labor colleagues he was 'in favour' of appointing the former PM as Australia's ambassador in Washington if Labor win the election

Anthony Albanese has remained a huge supporter of Kevin Rudd, and reportedly told senior Labor colleagues he was 'in favour' of appointing the former PM as Australia's ambassador in Washington if Labor win the election

Anthony Albanese has remained a huge supporter of Kevin Rudd, and reportedly told senior Labor colleagues he was ‘in favour’ of appointing the former PM as Australia’s ambassador in Washington if Labor win the election

Former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd could become Australia's next ambassador if Labor win the upcoming federal election

Former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd could become Australia's next ambassador if Labor win the upcoming federal election

Former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd could become Australia’s next ambassador if Labor win the upcoming federal election

‘He’d be seen as Australia’s prime minister in Washington,’ one senior critic inside Labor told The Australian. ‘It could be a disaster.’

Since leaving his post as Prime Minister, Mr Rudd has been a strong critic of Scott Morrison’s government and continued to speak out independently on policy.  

Mr Albanese declined to comment when asked if he spoke to Mr Rudd about ambassador role or any other diplomatic post.

Earlier this year, he blasted Mr Morrison in a foul-mouthed tweet supporting free rapid antigen tests for everyone. 

Mr Rudd said ‘Morrison is RATf****ng Australians.

‘This is American-style health policy, putting private profits ahead of public safety.

‘It’s a recipe for massive undetected spread among those least able to pay. Mass-testing saves money by taking pressure off hospitals.’ 

Rapid tests are free at testing centres but cost at least $10 per swab at pharmacies and supermarkets.

The plan to give Mr Rudd the top job in Washington has reportedly divided senior leaders in the Labor party

The plan to give Mr Rudd the top job in Washington has reportedly divided senior leaders in the Labor party

The plan to give Mr Rudd the top job in Washington has reportedly divided senior leaders in the Labor party 

$300,000 on offices, $40,000 on chauffeur-driven cars and $4K phone bills: How much YOU are paying for our past six prime ministers and three surviving wives in retirement 

Australian taxpayers shelled out almost $400,000 over three months to pay for the expenses of six former prime ministers and three surviving wives.

As a reward for their service and to help pay for ongoing work, former leaders can claim for their office rent and administration, domestic flights, chauffeur-driven cars and even phone bills.

A report released by the Independent Parliamentary Expenses Authority showed taxpayers shelled out $365,944.5 from January to March 2021 to Malcolm Turnbull, Kevin Rudd, Julia Gillard, John Howard and Paul Keating.

 Under rules which allow surviving spouses of late leaders to claim expenses, Malcolm Fraser’s wife Tamie claimed a $95.32 phone bill, John Gorton’s wife Nancy claimed a $293.65 phone bill – even though her husband left office 50 years ago in 1971 – while Bob Hawke’s wife Blanche d’Alpulget didn’t claim anything.

Mr Turnbull is the most expensive former leader, claiming $90,711.12 in the three month period. 

Mr Howard’s total bill was the second highest at $77,063.09 and Mr Abbott’s was third at $66,051.25.

Over the year to April 2021, Mr Turnbull claimed $394,703, followed by Mr Howard at $337,234, then Tony Abbott at $199,650.

Julia Gillard claimed the least, charging taxpayers $113,208 over the year.

The biggest expense is the leaders’ current offices, with taxpayers forking out a total of $310,656.26 for the six former prime ministers from January to March.

 Mr Turnbull’s Sydney office bill was the most expensive, costing $85,830.82 to rent.

The 66-year-old, who is said to be worth around $200million, also billed taxpayers $18,000.63 for chauffeured Comcar trips he took in 2018 but didn’t claim at the time, as well as $1,759.27 for leasing a private-plated car.

He also charged taxpayers $2,348 for subscriptions to various news websites including a $174.99 donation to The Guardian, a free left-wing news website.

For trips taken in the three-month period, Mr Howard claimed the highest car bill at $5,622.80, closely followed by Kevin Rudd at $5,410.60 and then Julia Gillard at $3,116.56.

Including Mr Turnbull’s backdated claims, the total bill for car costs for the six former prime ministers came to $39,311.58.

Mr Abbott claimed the biggest phone bill at $1,187.49 while Kevin Rudd declined to claim anything for his calls and texts.

 

 

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Source: DailyMail

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