Happy traveller: Kevin Rudd

Former prime minister Kevin Rudd is living up to his nickname of Kevin 747 in retirement - travelling the globe to meet powerful bureaucrats and politicians.

Documents obtained by _The West Australian _show Mr Rudd has Australia's embassies working overtime to set up meetings with officials around the world.

The revelations will only fuel suggestions the Queenslander is on the hunt for a plum international office.

Papers released by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade show that in the three months after the Federal election Mr Rudd was overseas for almost 60 days.

Documents show in that period Mr Rudd travelled to Beijing four times.

He also visited London, New York, Paris, Boston, Washington and Bahrain.

The documents released do not record Mr Rudd's flights but show details of when he asked Australian diplomats in foreign embassies to set up meetings and car transport for talks.

One of Mr Rudd's most high-profile trips was in October when he met French President Francois Hollande and his Foreign Affairs Minister Laurent Fabius in Paris.

The meeting was organised by local Australian diplomats at Mr Rudd's request.

Under long standing rules, Australian missions overseas are obliged to facilitate visits by former prime ministers.

Guidelines say car transport should be provided only when the former PM is travelling on official business and should not be for commercial purposes.

It is normal procedure for diplomats to meet the former PM at the airport and help with transfers, ground transport and setting up meetings with local politicians, although they are normally excluded from discussions.

A spokeswoman for Mr Rudd said as a former PM and foreign affairs minister he received some assistance while overseas, which was covered in DFAT guidelines.

"Prior to, throughout and post his time in Parliament, Mr Rudd has maintained an active interest in international affairs," she said.

Released documents also show DFAT has been kept busy facilitating the overseas visits of another former Labor prime minister, Julia Gillard.

Since October last year, the department has assisted with visits for Ms Gillard in Los Angeles, Washington, Toronto, Paris, Zurich, Hong Kong and Bali.


The West Australian

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