Kevin Rudd has announced his retirement from federal politics.
Kevin Rudd has announced his retirement from federal politics. Inga Williams

Time to zip: Tearful Rudd retires from federal politics

FORMER prime minister Kevin Rudd announced his retirement from politics in an emotional speech to Parliament, ending with his trademark "it really is time for me to zip".

Mr Rudd told Federal Parliament on Wednesday night he will leave politics on Friday ending months of speculation after he was ousted at the election.

"This has been the product of much soul-searching for us as a family over the last few months," he said.

"The decision that I have made has not been taken lightly."

Mr Rudd has held his Brisbane-based seat of Griffith since 1998.

The former PM said he was planning to establish a "national apology foundation", highlighting his apology to Indigenous Australians, which he said was a signature achievement of his time as prime minister.

He also spoke of his desire to remain active in the international community.

"I am passionately Australian and passionately a citizen of the world. I intend to be active in the international community in areas where I can make a genuine contribution to peace and stability, global economic governance and sustainable development, including climate change," he said.

Rudd farewells 1.3 million Twitter followers

Mr Rudd tweeted his farewell to his 1.3 million followers.

"To all my friends on Twitter I wanted to tell you all that I have decided to go on to the next phase of my life," Mr Rudd tweeted following his resignation in parliament.

"Thank you for all your kindness and support."

At the federal election in September he lost to Liberal candidate Bill Glasson on a head to head basis but held the seat after Greens preferences.

Mr Rudd wished Prime Minister Tony Abbot and his family along with Opposition Leader Bill Shorten all the best.