18/07/2016 8:58 AM AEST | Updated 18/07/2016 11:32 AM AEST

Kevin Rudd Is Officially Running For U.N. Secretary-General

The former prime minister has asked for the government's support.

Kevin Rudd wants to be in the U.N. secretary-general

The worst kept secret in Australia has finally come out in the open, with Kevin Rudd's ambitious bid to become United Nations secretary-general confirmed at last.

After months of speculation, and reports of behind-the-scenes campaigning, foreign minister Julie Bishop announced on Monday that Rudd has lodged a request that the federal government nominate him for the position -- the first official step in the process for aspiring candidates.

"Kevin Rudd has requested that the Australian government nominate him, and as the prime minister has indicated on a number of occasions that will be a matter for the cabinet," Bishop said on Sky News on Monday.

A spokesperson for Rudd told The Huffington Post Australia that he "respects the internal processes of the Australian Government."

"He also respects the fact that the Government has many other priorities at this time, having just been returned to office," the spokesperson said in a statement.

"This is a matter for the Prime Minister, the Foreign Minister and their colleagues at a time of their choosing. Mr Rudd has no further comment to make."

The former prime minister has quietly been building a clutch of supporters, collecting international diplomatic and academic postings, and getting himself published in influential publications.

Under an informal United Nations rotation system, it is seen to be the "turn" of Eastern Europe to have a candidate at the head of the international body when Ban ki-Moon's appointment finishes at the end of 2016.

A number of highly qualified candidates from eastern Europe are in the running, but reports claim Rudd is banking on the field to be spread thin between them all, and that under such a deadlock, Rudd could announce himself as a consensus candidate.

However, former New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark has also announced her candidacy, and is already well-known and respected within the U.N. system. Since 2009, she has been administrator of the United Nations Development Programme, considered to be the the third-highest position inside the U.N.

Rudd appeared on The Weekly in April to chat about the U.N.

Labor politicians such as Tanya Plibersek and Michelle Rowland have called for the government to endorse their party's former leader, but Liberals have lined up to joke about Rudd's latest ambition.

"No world leader is safe when 'Kevin Rudd' comes up on their caller ID. They must grit their teeth and say 'please not again'," Immigration Minister Peter Dutton told News Corp Australia.

"Kevin, mate, cobber please stop driving these people crazy -- do what other people do in retirement and play golf or buy a caravan."