Shell-shocked Rudd bows out in tears
KEVIN Rudd was struggling yesterday to come to terms with his ignominious new status as the most unsuccessful prime minister in Australian history.
Just a year ago Mr Rudd (52) rivalled Bob Hawke as Australia's most popular leader. Known as "Mr 60 Per Cent", thanks to his approval ratings earned by defeating John Howard in the 2007 election, he saw off two opposition leaders and one global financial crisis with barely a scratch.
But yesterday Mr Rudd became the shortest-serving Australian prime minister and the first Labour prime minister to ever be ejected from office before completing his first term.
He was dumped by Labour Party power brokers after failing to secure a lift in the opinion polls and angering MPs by his refusal to consult on important policies.
But the speed of his demise came as a surprise to even the most cynical Canberra commentators and to Mr Rudd.
In a tearful farewell speech outside Parliament House in Canberra, Mr Rudd appeared to be confused over how he had lost his job.
Listing his achievements over the past two-and-a-half years, he said he was proud of his apology to the Stolen Generations, his sweeping health reforms and his leadership through the global recession. (© Daily Telegraph, London)