The conservative era is officially over in Australia.
Labor leader Kevin Rudd unseated Prime Minister John Howard in elections Saturday, ending an 11-year conservative era and promising major changes to policies on global warming and his country’s role in the Iraq war. Rudd’s victory is seen as a huge loss for George Bush.
Rudd, a 50-year-old former diplomat who speaks fluent Chinese, urged voters to support him because Howard was out of touch with modern Australia and ill-equipped to deal with new-age issues such as climate change.
Rudd said he would withdraw Australia’s 550 combat troops from Iraq and promises to immediately sign the Kyoto Protocol on greenhouse gas emissions. When he does so, the United States will stand alone as the only industrialized country not to have signed the pact.