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Julia Gillard
Julia Gillard 2010.jpg
Gillard in 2010
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
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
19th Leader of the Labor Party
In office
24 June 2010 – 26 June 2013
Deputy Wayne Swan
Preceded by Kevin Rudd
Succeeded by Kevin Rudd
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
Member of the Australian Parliament
for Lalor
In office
3 October 1998 – 5 August 2013
Preceded by Barry Jones
Succeeded by Joanne Ryan
Personal details
Julia Eileen Gillard

(1961-09-29) 29 September 1961 (age 62)
Barry, Wales
  • Australia
  • United Kingdom (until 1998)
Political party Labor
Domestic partner Tim Mathieson (2006–2021)
  • Mitcham School
  • Unley High School
Alma mater

Julia Eileen Gillard AC (born 29 September 1961) is an Australian former politician who served as the 27th prime minister of Australia from 2010 to 2013. She held office as leader of the Australian Labor Party (ALP), having previously served as the 13th deputy prime minister of Australia from 2007 to 2010, under Prime Minister Kevin Rudd. She is the first and only female to hold either office in Australian history.

Born in Barry, Wales, Gillard migrated with her family to Adelaide in South Australia in 1966. She attended Mitcham Demonstration School and Unley High School. Gillard went on to study at the University of Adelaide, but switched to the University of Melbourne in 1982, where she graduated with a Bachelor of Laws in 1986 and a Bachelor of Arts in 1989. During this time, she was president of the Australian Union of Students from 1983 to 1984. In 1987, Gillard joined the law firm Slater & Gordon, eventually becoming a partner in 1990, specialising in industrial law. In 1996, she became chief of staff to John Brumby, the Leader of the Opposition in Victoria.

Gillard was first elected to the House of Representatives at the 1998 election for the seat of Lalor. Following the 2001 election, she was appointed to the Shadow Cabinet. In December 2006, Gillard became the running mate of Kevin Rudd in a successful leadership challenge to Kim Beazley, becoming deputy leader of the opposition. After Labor's victory at the 2007 election, she was appointed as the deputy prime minister of Australia, and was also given the roles of Minister for Education, Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations, and Minister for Social Inclusion.

On 24 June 2010, after Rudd lost internal support within the Labor Party and resigned as leader, Gillard was elected unopposed as his replacement in a leadership spill, and was sworn-in as prime minister. She led Labor through the 2010 election weeks later, which saw the first hung parliament since 1940. Gillard was able to form a minority government with the support of the Greens and three independents. During its term of office, the Gillard government introduced the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), the Gonski funding, oversaw the initial rollout of the National Broadband Network (NBN), and controversially implemented a carbon pricing scheme, which was widely perceived as a breach of a pre-election commitment.

Gillard's premiership was often undermined by party instability and numerous scandals, including the AWU affair and the Health Services Union expenses affair. Gillard and Rudd became embroiled in a lengthy political rivalry, resulting in Gillard losing the leadership of the Labor Party back to him in a June 2013 leadership spill. Her resignation as prime minister took effect the next day, and she announced her retirement from politics.

In the years following her retirement, Gillard has been a visiting professor at the University of Adelaide, the Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution's Center for Universal Education, and has been the chair of the Global Partnership for Education since 2014 and as the chair of Beyond Blue since 2017. She released her memoir, My Story, in September 2014. In April 2021, she became chair of the Wellcome Trust, succeeding Eliza Manningham-Buller. Although Gillard often ranked poorly in opinion polls as prime minister, her premiership has been more favourably received in retrospect. Political experts often place her in the middle-to-upper tier of Australian prime ministers.

Early life

Gillard was born in 1961 in Barry, Vale of Glamorgan, Wales. She had bronchopneumonia as a child, and her parents thought it would be better 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.

Member of Parliament (1998–2007)

Gillard was first elected to the House of Representatives at the 1998 federal election representing Lalor, a safe Labor seat near Melbourne, replacing Barry Jones who retired. She made her maiden speech to the House on 11 November 1998. Gillard was a member of the standing committee for Employment, Education and Workplace Relations from 8 December 1998 to 8 December 2001, in addition to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs from 20 March 2003 to 18 August 2003. Within the joint committees, she was a member of the Public Accounts and Audit from 8 December 1998 to 11 February 2002, in addition to the Native Title and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Land Fund from 20 March 2003 to 11 August 2003.

Shadow Minister (2001–2007)

Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard
Gillard at her first press conference as Deputy Leader in 2006, alongside new Leader Kevin Rudd

After Labor's defeat at the 2001 federal election, Gillard was elected to the Shadow Cabinet under then-Labor Leader Simon Crean, where she was given responsibility for Population and Immigration. In February 2003, she was given additional responsibilities for Reconciliation and Indigenous Affairs. In these roles, in the wake of the Tampa and Children Overboard affairs, which were partly credited with Labor's 2001 election loss, Gillard developed a new immigration policy for the Labor Party.

Gillard was later promoted to the position of Shadow Minister for Health and Deputy Manager of Opposition Business in the House (to Mark Latham) on 2 July 2003. During this time, she shadowed Tony Abbott, with the rivalry between the two often attracting attention from the media. She was later given additional responsibility for managing opposition business in the House of Representatives by Latham, who had succeeded Beazley as Labor Party leader.

In the aftermath of Labor's fourth consecutive defeat in the 2004 federal election it was widely speculated that Gillard might challenge Jenny Macklin for the deputy leadership, but she did not do so. Gillard had been spoken of as a potential future leader of the party for some years, but never stood in a leadership contest. After Mark Latham resigned as Labor Leader in January 2005, Gillard appeared on ABC's Australian Story in March 2006, after which an Ipsos Mackay poll conducted for Network Ten's Meet the Press found that more respondents would prefer Gillard to be Labor Leader; she polled 32% compared with Beazley's 25% and Kevin Rudd's 18%. Although she had significant cross-factional support, she announced on 25 January 2005 that she would not contest the leadership, allowing Beazley to be elected unopposed.

Deputy Opposition Leader (2006–2007)

On 1 December 2006, as part of a cross-factional political partnership with Kevin Rudd, Gillard challenged Jenny Macklin for the deputy leadership. After Rudd successfully replaced Beazley as Labor Leader on 4 December 2006, Macklin chose to resign, allowing Gillard to become Deputy Leader unopposed. In the subsequent reshuffle, Gillard was allocated responsibility for Employment, Workplace Relations and Social Inclusion, as well as being made Deputy Leader of the Opposition.

Deputy Prime Minister (2007–2010)

Julia Gillard US Ambassador 2
Gillard meets with US Ambassador Jeff Bleich on 26 November 2009

After the Labor Party's victory in the 2007 federal election, Gillard was sworn in as the first ever female Deputy Prime Minister of Australia on 3 December 2007. In addition to being appointed to the position of Deputy Prime Minister, Gillard was given responsibility for a so-called "super ministry", the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations.

She was a member of the Strategic Priorities Budget Committee (SPBC) – also referred to as "Gang of Four" – which comprised Rudd and his most senior ministers: Gillard, Treasurer Wayne Swan and Finance Minister Lindsay Tanner. Formed in late-2007 as a result of an internal review, the SPBC was responsible for the government's handling of the 2007–08 global financial crisis.

On 11 December 2007, Gillard was acting prime minister while Rudd attended the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Bali, becoming the first woman ever to hold that position. She assumed these duties for a total of 69 days throughout Rudd's tenure, during his various overseas travel engagements. Gillard quickly became known as a highly regarded debater, with her performances during parliamentary question time prompting Peter van Onselen to call her "the best parliamentary performer on the Labor side".

Ministerial portfolios

In her role as Minister for Education, Gillard travelled to Washington D.C. in 2009, where she signed a deal with US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan to encourage improved policy collaboration in education reform between both countries. The establishment of the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA), an independent authority responsible for the development of a national curriculum, was amongst her first policy pursuits in 2008. She launched the government's "Digital Education Revolution" (DER) program, which provided laptops to all public secondary school students and developed quality digital tools, resources and infrastructure for all schools. In conjunction with DER, Gillard oversaw the "Building the Education Revolution" (BER) program, which allocated $16 billion to build new school accommodation including classrooms, libraries and assembly halls.

Gillard also ensured the implementation of the National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) in 2008, whereby a series of standardised tests focused on basic skills are administered annually to Australian students. This was followed by the introduction of the My School website; launched in January 2010, the website reports on data from NAPLAN and displays information such as school missions, staffing, financial information, its resources and its students' characteristics.

As Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations, Gillard removed the WorkChoices industrial relations regime introduced by the Howard government, and replaced it with the Fair Work Act. This established a single industrial relations bureaucracy called Fair Work Australia.

Prime Minister (2010–2013)

Prime Ministerial portrait, 2010

2010 leadership vote

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd suffered a decline in his personal ratings, and a perceived loss of support among his own MPs, following the failure of the Government's insulation program, controversy regarding the implementation of a tax on mining, the failure of the government to secure passage of its carbon trading scheme and some policy debate about immigration policy. Significant disaffection had arisen within the Labor Party as to the leadership style and direction of Rudd. On 23 June 2010 he announced that Gillard had asked him to hold a leadership ballot the following day to determine the leadership of the Labor Party, and hence the Prime Ministership of Australia.

As late as May 2010, prior to challenging Rudd, Gillard was quipping to the media that "There's more chance of me becoming the full-forward for the Dogs than there is of any change in the Labor Party". Consequently, Gillard's move against Rudd on 23 June appeared to surprise many Labor backbenchers. Daryl Melham, when asked by a reporter on the night of the challenge if indeed a challenge was on, replied: "Complete garbage. ABC have lost all credibility." As he was being deposed, Rudd suggested that his opponents wanted to move Labor to the right, saying on 23 June: "This party and government will not be lurching to the right on the question of asylum seekers, as some have counselled us to do."

Quentin Bryce swearing in Julia Gillard as PM
Gillard being sworn in as Prime Minister by Quentin Bryce on 24 June 2010

Initially, The Sydney Morning Herald reported that the final catalyst for the move on Rudd was sparked by a report that Rudd had used his chief of staff to sound out back benchers on his level of support, thus implying that "he did not trust the repeated assurances by Ms Gillard that she would not stand". Later, ABC's 7:30 Report said the seeds for the challenge to Rudd came from "factional heavyweights" Bill Shorten and Senator David Feeney, who secured the support of "New South Wales right power broker" Mark Arbib and that Feeney and Arbib went to discuss a challenge with Gillard on the morning of 23 June and a final numbers count began for a challenge. Accounts have continued to differ as to the extent of Gillard's foreknowledge and planning of the replacement of Rudd.

Rudd initially said that he would challenge Gillard, but it soon became apparent that he did not have enough support within the party to survive in his position. Hours before the vote on 24 June, he resigned as Prime Minister and Leader of the Labor Party, leaving Gillard to assume the leadership unopposed. Treasurer Wayne Swan was at the same time elected unopposed to succeed Gillard as Deputy Leader.

Shortly afterward, Gillard was sworn in as the 27th Prime Minister of Australia by Governor-General Quentin Bryce, with Swan being sworn in as Deputy Prime Minister. The members of the Rudd Ministry, with the exception of Rudd himself who returned to the backbenches, subsequently became the members of the First Gillard Ministry. It was the first time in Australian history that both the head of state as well as the head of government were female.

Quentin Bryce, Julia Gillard and Wayne Swan
Gillard alongside partner Tim Mathieson, Quentin Bryce, Wayne Swan and Michael Bryce on 24 June 2010

Later that day, in her first press conference as Prime Minister, Gillard said that at times the Rudd government "went off the tracks", and "[I] came to the view that a good Government was losing its way". Gillard offered wider explanation of her motivations for replacing Rudd during the 2012 Labor leadership spill in which Rudd challenged Gillard to regain the Labor leadership, telling the media that the Rudd government had entered a "period of paralysis" and that Rudd's work patterns were "difficult and chaotic".

Upon her election by the Labor Party, Gillard said that she wouldn't move into The Lodge until she was elected Prime Minister in her own right, instead choosing to divide her time between a flat in Canberra and her home in Altona, a western suburb of Melbourne. Gillard moved into The Lodge on 26 September 2010.

As well as being the first female Prime Minister, and the first never to have married, Gillard is the first Prime Minister since Billy Hughes to have been born overseas.

The leadership question remained a feature of the Gillard government's terms in office, and amidst ongoing leadership speculation following an ABC TV Four Corners examination of the events leading up to Rudd's replacement which cast doubt on Gillard's insistence that she did not actively campaign for the Prime Ministership, Attorney-General Nicola Roxon spoke of Rudd's record in the following terms: "I don't think we should whitewash history – while there are a lot of very good things our government did with Kevin as prime minister, there were also a lot of challenges, and it's Julia who has seen through fixing a lot of those problems."

2010 election

Leaders of TPP member states
Gillard (3rd from left) attending a meeting of Trans-Pacific Partnership member state leaders

On 17 July 2010, 23 days after becoming prime minister and after receiving the agreement of the Governor-General Quentin Bryce, Gillard announced the next federal election would be held on 21 August 2010. Gillard began campaigning with a speech using the slogan "moving forward". In the early stages of the campaign, a series of leaks were released by purported Labor Party sources, indicating apparent divisions within Cabinet over the replacement of Kevin Rudd by Gillard.

Gillard met Opposition leader Tony Abbott for one official debate during the campaign. Studio audience surveys by Channel Nine and the Seven Network suggested a win to Gillard. Unable to agree on further debates, the leaders went on to appear separately on stage for questioning at community forums in Sydney and Brisbane, Queensland. An audience exit poll of the Rooty Hill RSL audience indicated an Abbott victory. Gillard won the audience poll at the Broncos Leagues Club meeting in Brisbane on 18 August. Gillard also appeared on the ABC's Q&A program on 9 August. On 7 August, Gillard was questioned by former Labor leader turned Channel Nine reporter Mark Latham.

Gillard officially "launched" Labor's campaign in Brisbane five days before polling day, outlining Labor policies and using the slogan: "Yes we will move forward together".

Labor and the Coalition each won 72 seats in the 150-seat House of Representatives, four short of the requirement for majority government, resulting in the first hung parliament since the 1940 election. Labor suffered an 11-seat swing, even though it won a bare majority of the two-party vote. Both major party leaders sought to form a minority government.

Six crossbench MPs held the balance of power. Four crossbench MPs, Greens Adam Bandt and independents Andrew Wilkie, Rob Oakeshott and Tony Windsor declared their support for Labor on confidence and supply, allowing Gillard and Labor to remain in power with a minority government. Governor-General Bryce swore in the Second Gillard Ministry on 14 September 2010.

Domestic policies

Australian Foreign Minister Smith, Secretary Panetta, Australian Prime Minister Gillard, Secretary Clinton, and Australian Foreign Minister Carr Pose for a Photo (8185950436)
(L–R) Australian Defense Minister Stephen Smith, U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, Gillard, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and Australian Foreign Minister Robert Carr, 2012


Gillard came to office in the aftermath of the global financial crisis of 2007–2008. Government receipts fell during the international downturn and the Rudd government had employed pump priming expenditure. Upon taking over as leader of the Labor Party on 24 June 2010, Gillard said she could "assure" Australians that the Federal Budget would be in surplus in 2013. The Government continued to promise this outcome until December 2012. Gillard initially ruled out a "carbon tax" but said that she would build community consensus for a price on carbon and open negotiations with the mining industry for a re-vamped mining profits tax. Following the 2010 hung parliament election result, the Labor Party elected to adopt the Australian Greens preference for a carbon tax to transition to an emissions trading scheme, establishing a carbon price via the Clean Energy Act 2011. The government also introduced a revised Minerals Resource Rent Tax and the Queensland Flood Levy.

The Gillard government stressed a need to return the Federal Budget to surplus for the 2012–13 financial year, and Gillard said that there would be "no ifs no buts" about this promise and that "failure is not an option here and we won't fail". In his 2012–13 Budget, Treasurer Swan announced that the government would deliver a $1.5 billion surplus. The government cut defence and foreign aid spending. In December 2012, Swan announced that the government no longer expected to achieve a surplus, citing falling revenue and global economic conditions.


Like her predecessor Rudd, Gillard had said that health is a priority in her agenda. She announced during the 2010 election, that there would be an increase of 270 placements for emergency doctors and nurses and 3,000 extra nursing scholarships over the following 10 years. She also said mental health would be a priority in her second term.

In October 2010, her government introduced legislation to reform funding arrangements for the health system, with the intention of giving the Commonwealth responsibility for providing the majority of funding to public hospitals and 100 per cent of funding for primary care and GP services. In February 2011, Gillard announced extensive revision of the original health funding reforms proposed by the Rudd government, which had been unable to secure the support of all state governments. The revised Gillard government plan proposed that the federal government move towards providing 50% of new health funding (and not 60 per cent as originally agreed) and removed the requirement of the states to cede a proportion of their GST revenue to the Federal Government to fund the new arrangement. The new agreement was supported by all state premiers and chief ministers and signed on 2 August.


Julia Gillard speaking at the National Flag Raising and Citizenship ceremony
Gillard speaking at the National Flag Raising and Citizenship ceremony in Canberra, on 26 January 2013

In relation to population targets for Australia, Gillard told Fairfax Media in August 2010 that while skilled migration is important: "I don't support the idea of a big Australia". Gillard also altered the nomenclature of Tony Burke's role as "Minister for Population" to that of "Minister for Sustainable Population". The Government released a "sustainable population strategy" in May 2011 which did not specify a target population. In October 2011 trade minister Craig Emerson released a paper with Gillard's approval which advocated for continued rapid rates of population growth.

After winning leadership of the Labor Party, Gillard identified addressing the issue of unauthorised arrivals of asylum seekers as a priority of her government. She announced that negotiations were underway for a return to "offshore processing" of asylum seeker claims. Gillard ruled out a return to processing at Nauru and named East Timor as a preferred location for new detention and processing facilities. The East Timorese government rejected the plan.

In October 2010, her government announced that it would open two detention centres for 2000 immigrants, due to the pressures in allowing women and children to be released into the community. One was to be opened in Inverbrackie, South Australia, and one in Northam, Western Australia. She said it would be a short-term solution to the problem and that temporary detention centres would be closed.

On 15 December 2010, a ship containing 89 asylum seekers crashed on the shore of Christmas Island, killing up to fifty people. Refugee and migrant advocates condemned the government's hardline policy as responsible for the tragedy, and Labor Party president Anna Bligh called for a complete review of the party's asylum seeker policy. Gillard returned early from holidays in response to the crash, and to review asylum seeker policy. Some months later Gillard would announce "The Malaysia Solution" in response.

In April 2011, Australia's federal government confirmed that a detention centre for single men would be built at the old army barracks at Pontville, 45 minutes north of Hobart, Tasmania. This immigration detention centre would house up to 400 refugees. Also in April 2011, immigration detainees at the Villawood detention centre rioted in protest of their treatment, setting fire to several buildings.

In May 2011, Gillard announced that Australia and Malaysia were finalising an arrangement to exchange asylum seekers. Gillard and Immigration Minister Chris Bowen said they were close to signing a bilateral agreement which would result in 800 asylum seekers who arrive in Australia by boat being taken to Malaysia instead. Australia would take 4,000 people from Malaysia who have previously been assessed as being refugees. However, on 31 August, the High Court ruled that the agreement to transfer refugees from Australia to Malaysia was invalid, and ordered that it not proceed. Australia would still accept 4,000 people who have been assessed as refugees in Malaysia.

The asylum seeker debate returned during August 2012 following the report of the Expert Panel on Asylum Seekers, led by retired Air Chief Marshall Angus Houston. Accepting the panel's recommendation, Gillard on 12 August 2012 announced that a bill then before Parliament would be amended to allow the Government to choose sites for off-shore processing. At the same time she announced the Government would nominate the former detention centres on Nauru and Manus Island, Papua New Guinea to be re-opened. The amended bill passed with the support of the Opposition on 16 August 2012.


Barack Obama at Campbell High School
Gillard and U.S. President Barack Obama at Campbell High School

Gillard held the responsibilities of the Education portfolio for four days after becoming Prime Minister, before appointing Simon Crean as Education Minister on 28 June 2010. Following the 2010 election, Peter Garrett assumed the role of Minister for Education, where he remained until June 2013. Gillard also altered the nomenclature of "Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research" to comprise tertiary education; Chris Evans, Chris Bowen, and later, Craig Emerson, each was Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills, Science and Research in the Gillard government.

At the July 2010 National Press Club, Gillard stated "I will make education central to my economic agenda because of the role it plays in developing the skills that lead to rewarding and satisfying work – and that can build a high-productivity, high-participation economy." The Gillard government in January 2011 extended tax cuts to parents to help pay for stationery, textbooks or computer equipment under the Education Tax Refund scheme.

As Education Minister under Rudd, Gillard commissioned David Gonski to be chairman of a committee to make recommendations regarding funding of education in Australia. The findings and recommendations of the committee were later presented to the Gillard government in November 2011, whereafter deliberations were entered into by the Federal and state governments to consider its content. The committee's report is known as the Gonski Report. Subsequently, the proposed reforms (an increase in funding) became known as "Gonski" and supporters urged governments to "Give a Gonski". The report was removed from the government website by the newly elected Abbott government after the 2013 Federal election and is preserved by Australia's Pandora Archive.

Gillard continued to put the My School website centre of her education agenda, which was controversial at the time when she implemented it as Minister for Education. Although it was popular amongst parents, the website helped parents view statistics of the school their children attended. She had since unveiled the revamped version, My School 2.0, promising better information to parents.

Universities also placed highly on her education agenda. Legislation which would have been voted on in November 2010 would have seen the introduction of a national universities regulator; however, this was delayed until 2011 following criticisms from the higher education sector. It was also announced by her government that legislation to establish the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency would also be introduced early 2011.

Climate change

Ilham Aliyev attended the plenary session of the 2012 Nuclear Security Summit (9)
Gillard (second row, second from left) at the 2012 Nuclear Security Summit

The Rudd Labor opposition promised to implement an emissions trading scheme (ETS) before the 2007 federal election which Labor won. Rudd, unable to secure support for his scheme in the Senate, dropped it. During his 2012 leadership challenge against Gillard's prime ministership, Rudd said that it was Gillard and Swan who convinced him to delay his Emissions Trading Scheme.

In the 2010 election campaign, Gillard pledged to build a "national consensus" for a carbon price by creating a "citizens assembly", to examine "the evidence on climate change, the case for action and the possible consequences of introducing a market-based approach to limiting and reducing carbon emissions", over the course of one year. The assembly was to be selected by an independent authority who would select people from the electoral roll using census data. The plan was never implemented. After the 2010 Election, Gillard agreed to form a minority government with the Greens and Independents and replaced her "citizens assembly" plan with a climate change panel consisting of Labor, Greens and independent members of the Australian parliament. The panel ultimately announced backing for a temporary carbon tax, leading up to an Emissions Trading Scheme.

During the 2010 election campaign, Gillard also said that no carbon tax would be introduced under a government she led. In the first hung parliament result in 70 years, the Gillard government, with the support of the Australian Greens and some cross bench independents, negotiated the implementation of a carbon tax (the preferred policy of the Australian Greens), by which a fixed-price carbon tax would proceed to a floating-price ETS within a few years under the plans. The government proposed the Clean Energy Bill in February 2011, which the opposition claimed to be a broken election promise.

The bill was passed by the Lower House in October 2011 and the Upper House in November 2011.


Gillard represented Australia at the Wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton in London in April 2011 and hosted the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Perth in October of that year. The Perth CHOGM saw the historic announcement, by Gillard and British Prime Minister David Cameron, of changes to the succession laws regarding to thrones of the Commonwealth realms, overturning rules privileging male over female heirs to the line of succession and removing a ban on Roman Catholic consorts. At the CHOGM, Gillard also hosted Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of Australia in what was almost certainly the monarch's final tour Down Under, due to her advanced age.

2012 leadership vote

Julia Gillard 2012 (cropped)
Gillard in 2012

In the light of poor polling results for the Gillard government, speculation that Foreign Minister and former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd wished to challenge Gillard for the leadership culminated with Rudd resigning from the Cabinet on 22 February 2012. Rudd told the media "I can only serve as Foreign Minister if I have the confidence of Prime Minister Gillard and her senior ministers" after Gillard failed to repudiate cabinet ministers who publicly criticised Rudd and his tenure as Prime Minister. The situation had been further exacerbated by the revelation on Four Corners that Gillard's staff wrote her victory speech for the 2010 leadership election two weeks prior to her challenge, contradicting Gillard's earlier claims that she had only resolved to challenge Rudd the day before the vote. This revelation caused particular conflict between Labor factions to surface, with Labor MP Darren Cheeseman calling on Gillard to resign, while his colleague Steve Gibbons called Rudd a "psychopath with a giant ego".

After resigning, Rudd stated that he did not think Gillard could defeat the Coalition at the next election and that, since his resignation, he had received encouragement from Labor MPs and Cabinet Ministers to contest the leadership. Gillard responded to these developments by announcing a leadership ballot for the morning of 27 February 2012, saying that if she lost the vote she would return to the backbench and renounce any claims to the leadership. She asked that Rudd make the same commitment.

At the leadership ballot, Gillard won comfortably by a vote of 71 to 31.

March 2013 leadership vote

Despite Gillard's defeating Kevin Rudd comfortably in the 2012 leadership spill, tensions remained in the Labor Party regarding Gillard's leadership. After Labor's polling position worsened in the wake of Gillard announcing the date of the 2013 election, these tensions came to a head when former Labor Leader and Regional Minister Simon Crean called for a leadership spill and backed Rudd on 21 March 2013. In response, Gillard sacked Crean from his position, and called a leadership spill for 4.30 pm that same day.

Ten minutes before the ballot was due to occur, Rudd publicly announced that he would not contest the leadership, in line with the commitment he had made following the 2012 contest. As such, Gillard and Wayne Swan were the only candidates for the Leadership and Deputy Leadership of the Labor Party, and were elected unopposed. This marked the first time in history that an incumbent Labor Leader was elected unopposed at a leadership ballot. Several ministers subsequently resigned from the government, including Chief Government Whip Joel Fitzgibbon, Human Services Minister Kim Carr, and Energy Minister Martin Ferguson.

Gillard declared that the question of the Labor leadership was now "settled". Nevertheless, speculation on Gillard's leadership remained a major issue, with polling results indicating an electoral disaster were she to lead the Labor Party into the election. In light of this, media attention once more turned to Kevin Rudd as a possible replacement in the short term. It was reported that Gillard's supporter Bill Shorten was under pressure to ask her to resign, creating a vacancy that Rudd would contest.

June 2013 leadership vote

By the end of June 2013, Labor's standing in the polls had worsened, and the Coalition had been leading in most opinion polls for two years; one poll in early June showed that Labor would be reduced to as few as 40 seats after the next election. With a general election due later that year, even some staunch Gillard supporters began to believe that Labor faced almost certain defeat if Gillard continued as leader. According to the ABC's Barrie Cassidy, the question was not whether Gillard would be ousted as Labor leader, but when the ousting would take place.

Following further speculation over her leadership, on 26 June a rumour emerged that supporters of Kevin Rudd were collecting signatures for a letter demanding an immediate leadership vote. That afternoon, before any letter had been published, Gillard called a leadership spill live on television. She challenged any would-be opponent to join her in a pledge that, while the winner would become leader, the loser would immediately retire from politics. Despite his earlier comments that he would not return to the leadership under any circumstances, Kevin Rudd announced that he would challenge Gillard for the leadership, and committed to retiring from politics if he lost. In the party-room ballot later that evening, Rudd defeated Gillard by a margin of 57 votes to 45.

Resignation and retirement from politics

Bronze bust of PM Julia Gillard
Bronze bust of Julia Gillard at the Prime Minister's Avenue in the Ballarat Botanical Gardens

Following her defeat in the leadership vote on 26 June 2013, Gillard congratulated Rudd on his win and announced that she would immediately tender her resignation as Prime Minister to the Governor-General, Quentin Bryce. She also announced, in keeping with her pledge before the leadership vote, that she would not re-contest her Labor seat at the upcoming election, and thus would retire from politics.

Gillard's resignation as Prime Minister took effect the following day, upon the swearing in of Rudd, and she made her final appearance in the House of Representatives shortly thereafter. Her parliamentary service ended at the dissolution of the Parliament on 5 August. By the conclusion of her tenure, Gillard overtook Gough Whitlam as the 15th longest–serving Prime Minister of Australia, having served in the position for three full years. She also became the longest–serving Prime Minister since John Howard's electoral loss in 2007, a record which was not exceeded until August 2021, when Scott Morrison overtook her as the 14th longest–serving Prime Minister of Australia.

Subsequent to the federal election held on 7 September 2013, Gillard was succeeded as the Member for Lalor by her preferred replacement, Joanne Ryan, a former school principal.

Post-political career (2013–present)

Publications and appearances

Julia Gillard delivers keynote speech at the National Assemby for Wales, July 2015. Cropped
Gillard delivers a keynote address to the National Assembly for Wales on the representation of women in public life, in July 2015

In July 2013, Gillard signed a book deal for her memoirs with Penguin Australia. The autobiography, My Story, was published in 2014 by Random House. In the book, Gillard reflects on various personal aspects of her life and career, including her own analysis of the people and key players during the Rudd–Gillard governments. Senator Nick Xenophon was said to have been "infamously excluded from university for a period as punishment for stuffing a ballot box full of voting papers he had somehow procured", which was denied by Xenophon. In February 2015, Random House issued a public apology to Xenophon and paid a confidential cash settlement. Following requests from Xenophon for a personal apology from Gillard, on 6 August 2015 she published a personal apology to him in a number of Australian newspapers.

Following her departure from parliament at the 2013 election, Gillard has remained engaged with the Labor Party. After Labor's defeat at the federal election held in September 2013, Gillard penned an op-ed for Guardian Australia, wherein she wrote about her legacy and how she believes the Labor Party ought to rebuild. In June 2015, Gillard participated in Sarah Ferguson's The Killing Season, a three-part documentary series which chronicles the events of the Rudd–Gillard years in power. The television series featured in-depth interviews with key Labor Party officials during the Rudd–Gillard governments. Prior to the 2016 election campaign, Gillard offered her assistance to the Labor party, whereby a video was released of her endorsing and seeking donations for the party's education policy. She later joined former Labor Prime Ministers Bob Hawke and Paul Keating at Bill Shorten's Labor campaign launch on 19 June 2016.

She had been a supporter of Hillary Clinton's Democratic Party candidacy for President of the United States, from as early as September 2014 when Gillard announced that she would "loudly barrack from the sidelines" should Clinton run. Having endorsed Clinton after she announced her candidacy in April 2015, Gillard appeared in a campaign video in October, wherein she advocated for the presidential candidate and her leadership surrounding women's issues. Gillard attended the first day of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia on 25 July 2016, alongside former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. The following day, Gillard published an open letter to Clinton in The New York Times, urging voters to "shame sexism" levied against the Democratic presidential candidate.

Honours and appointments

In April 2014, Gillard was admitted to the degree of Doctor of Victoria University, honoris causa, for her accomplishments surrounding education and disability reform as a political leader. On 11 February 2015, Gillard received an honorary doctorate from the Vrije Universiteit Brussel "for her achievements as a woman committed to education and to social inclusion, and for the impact of her commitment on the situation of children, youngsters and women worldwide"; and she also held a Kapuscinski Development Lecture on "the importance of education in development contexts" at the said university. In October, she received an honorary doctorate from the University of Canberra, for her work in "education and gender equality." In January 2016 she opened the Julia Gillard Library in the Melbourne suburb of Tarneit; the library's name was selected by the Wyndham City Council to recognise her contributions as both the local member of parliament and Prime Minister. Gillard was conferred an Honorary Doctorate of Laws by Deakin University, for her promotion of "education opportunities in Australia, especially to groups under-represented in higher education", in December 2016.

Julia Gillard, July 2016
Gillard at the Girls' Education Forum, held in London on 7 July 2016

Having moved back to Adelaide, Gillard was appointed an honorary Visiting Professor of Politics at the University of Adelaide in 2013. In October of that year, she joined the Brookings Institution's Center for Universal Education as a nonresident senior fellow. In February 2014, Gillard was appointed chairwoman of the Global Partnership for Education, an international organisation focused on getting all children into school for a quality education in the world's poorest countries. Later that year, in December, Gillard joined the board of the mental health organisation Beyond Blue, chaired by former Victorian Premier Jeff Kennett. Kennett announced on 21 March 2017 that he would be stepping down from the position during the second–half of the year, almost 17 years after founding the organisation; Gillard succeeded him as chair of Beyond Blue on 1 July 2017, becoming the first former Prime Minister since Malcolm Fraser to head a mental-health organisation. Since February 2015 she has been the patron of the John Curtin Prime Ministerial Library at Curtin University in Perth. On 30 June 2015, she was conferred with a fellowship from Aberystwyth University in recognition of her "significant contribution to political life". In September 2016 Gillard was appointed a visiting professor at King's College London, joining the King's Policy Institute to chair the Global Institute for Women's Leadership, as well as the Menzies Centre for Australian Studies.

In 2017, Gillard was appointed a Companion of the Order of Australia (AC) "for eminent service to the Parliament of Australia, particularly as Prime Minister, through seminal contributions to economic and social development, particularly policy reform in the areas of education, disability care, workplace relations, health, foreign affairs and the environment, and as a role model to women." According to The West Australian, one of her nominators for the award was then–Prime Minister Tony Abbott, who wrote a letter testifying to her suitability for the honour in 2014. Gillard is the most recent former prime minister to have received such award since John Howard in 2008, and the sixth prime minister overall. In July 2017 she took up her appointment as chair of Beyond Blue.

In 2018 she was listed as one of BBC's 100 Women.

In April 2021, Gillard was appointed chair of the board of Governors at Wellcome Trust, one of the most richly-endowed philanthropic charitable trusts, headquartered in London UK but with global reach, supporting research and innovation in medicine, public health, mental health and climate change. In April 2021, Gillard was honoured by the award of the Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun from the Government of Japan, which was formally presented by the Ambassador of Japan to Australia in a ceremony held on 4 February 2022. Gillard is the 8th Australian prime minister to receive the award, after Edmund Barton, Robert Menzies, John McEwen, Gough Whitlam, Malcolm Fraser, Bob Hawke, and John Howard. On 26 October 2023, she was awarded an honorary fellowship at Girton College, Cambridge.

Royal Commission into early education in South Australia

In October 2022 it was announced that Gillard would be leading the Royal Commission into early education in South Australia. In August 2023 Gillard authorised the release of the final report from the Royal Commission.

Personal life

Julia Gillard and Tim Mathieson January 2013 cropped
Gillard with her partner, Tim Mathieson, in 2013

Gillard met Tim Mathieson in 2004, and they began a relationship in 2006. The relationship ended in 2020 or 2021.

Gillard's mother told ABC TV's Australian Story program that Gillard had spoken from a young age of never wanting children. Gillard herself told the program that while she admired women who could balance child rearing with a career, "I'm not sure I could have. There's something in me that's focused and single-minded and if I was going to do that, I'm not sure I could have done this."

Gillard owned a single-storey home in the south-western Melbourne suburb of Altona which she occupied prior to The Lodge and sold in December 2013. She is a public supporter of the Western Bulldogs Australian rules football team and the Melbourne Storm rugby league team. She currently resides in Adelaide, in the beachside suburb of Brighton.

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Julia Gillard para niños

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