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Julia Gillard

Julia Gillard 2010.jpg
27th Prime Minister of Australia
In office
24 June 2010 – 27 June 2013
Monarch Elizabeth II
Governor-General Quentin Bryce
Deputy Wayne Swan
Preceded by Kevin Rudd
Succeeded by Kevin Rudd
Leader of the Labor Party
In office
24 June 2010 – 27 June 2013
Deputy Wayne Swan
Preceded by Kevin Rudd
Succeeded by Kevin Rudd
13th Deputy Prime Minister of Australia
In office
3 December 2007 – 24 June 2010
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd
Preceded by Mark Vaile
Succeeded by Wayne Swan
Member of the Australian Parliament
for Lalor
In office
3 October 1998 – 5 August 2013
Preceded by Barry Jones
Succeeded by Joanne Ryan
Deputy Leader of the Labor Party
In office
4 December 2006 – 24 June 2010
Leader Kevin Rudd
Preceded by Jenny Macklin
Succeeded by Wayne Swan
Personal details
Born 29 September 1961 (1961-09-29) (age 59)
Barry, Wales, UK
Political party Australian Labor Party
Domestic partner Tim Mathieson (2006-present)
Residence Altona, Victoria

Julia Eileen Gillard (born 29 September 1961) was the 27th Prime Minister of Australia. She was the first female Prime Minister of Australia. She was also Australia's first unmarried prime minister. Gillard was the first prime minister not born in Australia since Billy Hughes, who served from 1915 to 1923.

Gillard became the leader of the Australian Labor Party on 24 June 2010 when Kevin Rudd resigned. She had been Deputy Prime Minister under Kevin Rudd. On 11 December 2007, Rudd went to the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Bali. Gillard became the first woman in Australia's history to take on the prime-ministerial role as the acting prime minister.

Gillard was elected to the House of Representatives in 1988. She represented the Division of Lalor, in western suburbs of Melbourne.

Early life

Gillard was born in 1961 in Barry, Vale of Glamorgan, Wales. She had bronchopneumonia as a child, and her parents were told it would improve in a warmer country. The family came to Australia in 1966, settling in Adelaide. She became an Australian citizen in 1974.

Gillard's father was a psychiatric nurse, and her mother worked in a Salvation Army nursing home. She and her sister went to Mitcham Demonstration School, and Julia went on to attend Unley High School. She studied at the University of Adelaide but cut short her courses in 1982 and moved to Melbourne to work with the Australian Union of Students. She graduated from the University of Melbourne with Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Laws degrees in 1986.

In 1987, Gillard joined the law firm Slater & Gordon at Werribee, Melbourne, working in industrial law. In 1990 at the age of 29, she became one of their first female partners.


Using sport to raise awareness of violence against women in PNG. Prime Minister Julia Gillard signs a jumper before the PM's XIII sets of for PNG. Canberra 2011. Photo- AusAID (10686442744)
Using sport to raise awareness of violence against women in PNG

At the University of Adelaide, she joined the Labor Club and became involved in a campaign to fight state education budget cuts.

Moving to Melbourne in 1983, Gillard became the second woman to lead the Australian Union of Students. Gillard was also the secretary of the Socialist Forum. The Socialist Forum wanted to end the ANZUS treaty, making Leningrad a sister city of Melbourne, and increase taxes on rich people.

From 1996 to 1998, Gillard was Chief of Staff to the Victorian opposition leaderJohn Brumby She was responsible for writing new rules for the Labor Party in Victoria to increase the number of women elected to parliament. She also played a role in starting EMILY's List, the pro-choice fund-raising and support network for Labor women.


The Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh meeting the Prime Minister of Australia, Ms. Julia Gillard, in New Delhi on October 17, 2012
Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh meeting the Prime Minister Ms. Julia Gillard, New Delhi 2012

Gillard was elected as Member for Lalor in the House of Representatives at the 1998 election, replacing Barry Jones, who had retired. She made her first speech to the house on 11 November 1998.

Shadow Minister for Population and Immigration: 2001–03

After the 2001 election, Gillard was elected to the shadow cabinet, to oversee population and immigration. In February 2003, she was given reconciliation and Indigenous affairs.

After the Tampa and Children Overboard affairs, which were partly credited with Labor's 2001 election loss, Gillard worked on a new immigration policy for the Labor Party.

Shadow Minister for Health: 2003–06

Gillard was promoted to the position of Shadow Health Minister in July 2003. Shortly after this, Tony Abbott became Health Minister. The contest between Abbott and Gillard often attracted attention from the media. She also was in charge of opposition business in the House of Representatives.

Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard
Julia Gillard at her first press conference as Deputy Leader of the Australian Labor Party, 4 December 2006, with Kevin Rudd

After the Labor loss at the October 2004 election, Gillard was seen as a possible future leader. However she stayed out of leadership changes in the Labor Party.

Deputy leader of the opposition

On 1 December 2006, with Kevin Rudd and Gillard launched a challenge for leadership of the ALP. Once Rudd was elected as leader on 4 December 2006, the deputy leader, Jenny Macklin. Gillard was elected unopposed as deputy leader. After the leader ship change, Gillard became the shadow ministe for Employment, Workplace Relations and Social Inclusion.

Deputy prime minister: 2007–10

Secretary Clinton Shakes Hands With Australian Prime Minister Gillard (5510083265)
Secretary Clinton Shakes Hands With Australian Prime Minister Gillard 2011

The Labor Party won the 2007 federal election. On 3 December 2007, Gillard was sworn in as the first female Deputy Prime Minister of Australia.

She was also the Minister for Education, Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations, and Minister for Social Inclusion. As Minister for Education, Gillard went to Washington, DC, where she signed a deal with the US Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, to enourage improved policy collaboration in education reform between both countries.

On 11 December 2007 she became the first woman in Australia's history to be in the prime ministerial role when she became acting prime minister while Kevin Rudd went to the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Bali. In the first year of government, she served as acting prime minister for 69 days while Rudd was overseas.

Gillard is a highly regarded debater, and has been described as "the best parliamentary performer on the Labor side".

Minister for Education, Employment and Workplace Relations

Gillard removed the WorkChoices industrial relations laws introduced by the Howard government, and replaced it with the Fair Work Bill. This set up a single industrial relations bureaucracy called Fair Work Australia.

In 2009 Gillard was in charge of the government's "Building the Education Revolution" program, which gave AU$16 billion to build new school classrooms, libraries and assembly halls.

Prime minister 2010–13

Julia Gillard 2011
Julia Gillard at the 2011 Labor Party Conference

During 2010 Rudd's level of support dropped in the opinion polls. Labor politicians were unhappy with the way he led the party. The media had a lot of stories about the possibility that he would be challenged as leader. On 23 June 2010, there were several meetings between Gillard and Rudd, as well as other Labor party leaders. Rudd spoke to the media and said that Gillard had asked him to resign or hold a new vote for the party leadership. This would decide who was to be the leader of the Labor Party and therefore the Prime Minister of Australia.

At first Rudd said he would challenge Gillard at the meeting. However, hours before the vote, he resigned as leader when he knew that he did not have enough support to defeat Gillard. She won the election unopposed and became Australia's 27th Prime Minister. At the same meeting the Treasurer, Wayne Swan, was elected unopposed to succeed Gillard as Labor's deputy leader, and hence Deputy Prime Minister. Gillard said that "It is my intention to lead a government that is focused each and every day on meeting the needs of working families around the country". She said "I came to the view that a good government was losing its way".

In February 2012, Rudd resigned as Foreign Minister, and said that he would challenge her for the leadership of the Labor Party. Gillard called a party meeting on 27 February 2012 and asked for a new leadership vote. She won the leadership, getting 71 votes to only 31 for Rudd.

Julia Gillard 22August 2011
Julia Gillard speaking at the lanch of the Australian Multicultural Council 2011

On 26 June 2013, Gillard called a leadership spill. Kevin Rudd declared himself as a candidate. Rudd defeated Gillard by 57 to 45 votes. After the results, several ministers resigned from their ministerial positions including Wayne Swan, Peter Garrett, Greg Combet, Joe Ludwig, Craig Emerson and Stephen Conroy. In accordance with the pledge she and Rudd made in the vote, Gillard announced that she would not seek re-election and announced her retirement from politics at the upcoming federal election.

Political positions

Gillard is a member of the Left faction of the Labor party. Analyses of Jacqueline Kent's 2009 biography of Gillard suggest that her membership in the faction is "more organisational than ideological".

On population policy, in contrast to her predecessor, Gillard is against a "big Australia". She emphasises the need for sustainability, saying "Australia should not hurtle down the track towards a big population".

Gillard is pro-choice on reproductive rights. She declared her support for same-sex marriage in August 2015.

Personal life and views

Bronze bust of PM Julia Gillard
Bust of Gillard located in the Prime Minister's Avenue in the Ballarat Botanical Gardens in Ballarat, Victoria

Gillard's partner since 2006 is Tim Mathieson. She had previous relationships with union officials Michael O'Connor and Bruce Wilson and fellow Federal Labor MP Craig Emerson. She has never married and has had no children.

When asked in 2010 on the ABC's Jon Faine program, "Do you believe in God?", Gillard answered, "No, I don't Jon, I'm not a religious person ... I'm, of course, a great respecter of religious beliefs but they're not my beliefs". Newly appointed Prime Ministers must take an affirmation of office, or swear an oath of office on the Bible. Gillard chose an affirmation.

She lives in the south western Melbourne suburb of Altona and is a public supporter of the Western Bulldogs Australian Rules Football club.

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