Former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has announced he will retire from parliament.
. . . In a shock announcement on Wednesday night, an emotional Mr Rudd, who served twice as Prime Minister and was one of Labor’s most polarising figures, said there came a time in every politician’s life when their family said “enough is enough” and there was no point “being here for the sake of being here”.
He leaves at the end of the week and did not say what he planned to do next. The general reaction among his colleagues was a mixture of sadness, relief he was gone and concern for the byelection and the pressure it could place on Bill Shorten. . . .
It is very difficult for a former leader to go back to the back benches.
His presence there and active undermining of Julia Gillard destabilised her government.
Had he retired when she beat him in the leadership race the Labor Party might not have retained power but it would almost certainly be in a much stronger position than it is now.