A victory for the conservative Liberal Party-led coalition comes despite the relative unpopularity of Abbott, a 55-year-old former Roman Catholic seminarian and Rhodes scholar who has struggled to connect with women voters and was once dubbed "unelectable" by opponents and even some supporters.
But voters were largely fed up with Labor and Rudd, after a years-long power struggle between him and his former deputy, Julia Gillard. Gillard, who became the nation's first female prime minister after ousting Rudd in a party vote in 2010, ended up losing her job to Rudd three years later in a similar internal party coup.
The drama, combined with Labor reneging on an election promise by imposing a deeply unpopular tax on the nation's biggest carbon polluters, proved deadly for Labor's re-election chances.
In his concession speech, Rudd said he would be stepping down as party leader.