Kevin Rudd doesn't mind a trip overseas. Source: AAP
Air Australia are offering you a once in a lifetime chance to join the prestigious Mile High Club.
AUSTRALIA'S lengthy roll-call of recently removed prime ministers is causing unprecedented diplomatic congestion at our biggest embassies.
All are travelling widely and all seek VIP attention from diplomats when they land.
On arrival overseas the ex-PMs can expect assistance in transport and in making appointments with senior officials of the host nation — as they are entitled to do.
The problem comes when they arrive at the same city at roughly the same time and limited resources have to be spread around to accommodate them. Drastic measures are being considered to handle these VIP traffic jams.
John Howard, pictured here in Washington in 2008, is a regular visitor to the US. Source: Supplied
"We might have to car pool them," a senior diplomat has told news.com.au.
Over the past seven years three Prime Ministers have been removed from office by the electorate or by their own party — John Howard, Kevin Rudd, Julia Gillard.
All three now have active private careers which often take them overseas where they seek the help of embassies. A frequent destination is Washington and recently all three were in the city at the same time, straining the hospitality of our diplomats.
Julia Gillard is one of the former prime ministers creating a diplomatic traffic jam in Washington. Source: HeraldSun
Taxpayers provide former prime ministers with:
• Airport pick-ups and special customs clearance to avoid long queues at airports, all arranged by the local embassy;
• At home, an office and two staff at a maximum cost of $300,000 a year plus payment of all home and mobile telephone bills;
• Lifetime gold passes for domestic travel and access to limousine services in Australia.
Mr Howard is listed with the Washington Speakers' Bureau ("connecting you with the world's greatest minds") which describes him as a "visionary leader who believes that national strength abroad begins at home".
Ms Gillard is chair of the Washington-based Global Partnership for Education which describes her as "one of the world's most articulate and effective advocates for improving access and quality of education for children in the poorest countries".
Mr Rudd is a Senior Fellow at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and is also be a Visiting Fellow with Harvard's Institute of Politics.
A lifetime of travel? Doesn't sound so bad. Source: News Limited
Mr Rudd this week sparked a different concern when he arrived in Moscow as part of a tour of eastern Europe, just as tensions between Russia and Western countries were rising over the future of Ukraine.
Mr Rudd had booked his visit a month before, and as part of his preparations had asked the Australian embassy to set up meetings, including with senior advisers in President Vladimir Putin's office.
However, Mr Rudd wanted to make these contacts just as the Australian Government was reducing contact with the Russian administration as part of a Western strategy to isolate the Putin administration.
Australia had cancelled a visit to Moscow by Trade Minister Andrew Robb and stopped a visit here by a Russian security official.
There have been seven prime ministers leave office since Bob Hawke was replaced by Paul Keating in 1991, and eight since Malcolm Fraser departed in 1983. Three in the past seven years is a remarkable grouping.