Kevin Rudd should be appointed Australia’s next ambassador to the United States, according to senior figures within the Labor Party.

Former foreign minister Bob Carr told media the two-time ex-prime minister would be “a great catch” for the plumb posting because of his expertise on China.

“He would get access in the halls of Congress, the bureaucracy and the White House because the Americans will think he can tell us things we don’t know about China,” Carr said.

Talk that Rudd might be posted to Washington had increased since September when former defence minister Stephen Smith was announced as Australia’s next High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

“No one else we could nominate would have the clout, the access, the knowledge of the issues, the gravitas,” Carr said.

“No one else would be regarded by the Americans as being of such intellectual value.

“It would give us a status and cachet in Washington no other former politician or bureaucrat could bring.”

Labor’s longest serving foreign minister Gareth Evans agreed Rudd would make “a fine ambassador”.

Rudd already spends a lot of time in New York as president of the Asia Society and regularly appears in the US media as an expert on China.

Australia’s current US ambassador Arthur Sinodinos, a former Liberal senator, will end his term in February.

A spokesman for Rudd said: “Mr Rudd is very happy in New York, where he runs what has become a premier US think tank focusing on Asia and China.”

He added that Rudd had “zero plans to leave his position as global president of the Asia Society”.

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