POLITICS
13/11/2013 06:45 GMT | Updated 13/11/2013 06:57 GMT

Kevin Rudd Thanks 'Friends And Foes' As He Quits Australian Parliament (VIDEO)

Former Australian prime minister Kevin Rudd has asked for a "little privacy" as he announced he would be quitting parliament following his election defeat.

Rudd was twice prime minister of Australia, from 2007 to 2010 and briefly again in 2013. He took charge of the Labor Party for the second time following a bitter leadership struggle with rival Julia Gillard.

Addressing MPs on Wednesday evening, Rudd made no secret of the internal Labor Party rows that dominated Australian politics in the run up to the general election earlier this year.

"To members of parliament, both friend and foe, and I can confidently say they are spread equally across both sides of this chamber, I thank you," he said.

"Whatever has been said, and a lot that has been said that has been hurtful, I bear no one in this place any malice. Life is far too short for that."

Rudd's Labor Party lost the election to Tony Abbott's Liberal Party in September. While he did reference the internal party strife, he did not mention Gillard by name. And he teared up as he urged MPs of all parties to "be gentle with each other".

And in another reference to the divisions that spit his party he said Labor colleagues could "rest assured" as he was not planning on giving any tell-all interviews.

An emotional Rudd asked for a "little privacy" as he and his wife travelled abroad to "plan the next phase of our lives".

The Queensland MP, who served as Australian foreign minster while Gillard was prime minister, said he intended to "remain active" on the international stage.

He added: "To think the son of a dairy farmer whose family didn't have much money could secure a place at university and upon graduation become a diplomat, be elected to parliament and ultimately to be elected as leader of the party and as the prime minster says everything about how extraordinary this country is."

Australian MPs stood to applaud Rudd as he told them: "It really is time, for me to zip".