- Category : Politics-Heads-of-state
- Type : PE
- Profile : 3/5 - Martyr / Heretic
- Definition : Single
- Incarnation Cross : RAX Service 3
Julia Eileen Gillard (born 29 September 1961) is the 27th Prime Minister of Australia. She is the first female prime minister in Australia's history.
Gillard became the Leader of the Australian Labor Party at the 2010 Australian Labor Party leadership election on 24 June 2010 and was sworn in as prime minister later that day. She had previously served as Deputy Prime Minister of Australia under Kevin Rudd. On 11 December 2007, she became the first woman in Australia's history to assume the prime ministerial role when she was the acting prime minister while Rudd attended the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Bali.
Gillard is also the first foreign-born prime minister since Billy Hughes, who served from 1915 to 1923. She is also the first Labor prime minister to come from the Socialist Left faction, traditionally the more leftist of Labor's two main factions. Gillard has been a Labor Party member of the House of Representatives since the 1998 federal election. She represents the Division of Lalor, west of Melbourne.
Gillard was born in 1961 in Barry, Vale of Glamorgan, Wales where her father was a coal miner. She has a sister, Alison, who is three years older.
After Gillard suffered from bronchopneumonia as a child, her parents were advised it would aid her recovery to live in a warmer climate. The family chose to migrate to Australia in 1966, settling in Adelaide.
Gillard's father trained as a psychiatric nurse, while her mother worked at the local Salvation Army Old People's Home. She and her sister attended Mitcham Demonstration School and she then attended Unley High School. She then attended the University of Adelaide and after graduation moved to Melbourne to work with the Australian Union of Students (AUS). She graduated from the University of Melbourne with Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Laws degrees in 1986.
In 1987 Gillard joined law firm Slater & Gordon at Werribee, working in the area of industrial law. In 1990 at the age of 29, she was admitted as one of their first female partners.
In a 2007 interview, Gillard stated: “I used to think I wanted to be a school teacher. There was an English teacher at Mitcham Primary , who was a real stickler for standards and grammar and punctuation but who was also very kindly. I thought teachers were good; I thought it would be a rewarding job, seeing the eyes of young people light up with new information. I got talked out of that ambition for good or for ill by a school friend’s mother, who said, ‘No, you’re really good at arguing and debating, you should try law.’ If I hadn’t been pre-selected for the seat of Lalor and run successfully in the 1998 election, I’d probably still be somewhere in and around the law; public sector law perhaps. Maybe giving tutorials, trying to pound law into other people’s heads.”
Introduced to politics in her second year at the University of Adelaide by the daughter of a state Labor official, 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 formerly the secretary of the left-wing organisation, Socialist Forum. As an active member of the Socialist Forum, she lobbied for the scrapping of the ANZUS treaty, making Leningrad a sister city of Melbourne, and introducing a super-tax on the rich.
From 1996 to 1998, Gillard served as Chief-of-Staff to Victorian Opposition Leader, John Brumby. She was responsible for drafting the affirmative action rules within the Labor Party in Victoria that set the target of preselecting women for 35 percent of winnable seats within a decade. She also played a role in the foundation of EMILY's List, the pro-choice fund-raising and support network for Labor women.
Gillard was elected as Member for Lalor in the House of Representatives at the 1998 election. She made her first speech to the house on 11 November 1998.
Shadow Minister for Population and Immigration: 2001–03
After Labor's defeat at the 2001 election, Gillard was elected to the shadow cabinet with the portfolio of population and immigration. In February 2003 she was given the additional portfolios of reconciliation and Indigenous affairs.
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.
Shadow Minister for Health: 2003–06
Gillard was promoted to the position of Shadow Health Minister in July 2003. Shortly after this the government moved the then Workplace Relations Minister, Tony Abbott, into the health portfolio. The rivalry between Abbott and Gillard often attracted attention from the media. She gained additional responsibility for managing opposition business in the House of Representatives.
In the aftermath of the Labor loss at the October 2004 election, it was speculated that Gillard might challenge Jenny Macklin for the deputy leadership, but she did not do so.
Gillard has been touted as a potential future leader of the party for some years but, until 2005, she stayed out of leadership contests. After Mark Latham resigned as leader in January 2005, however, she emerged as a possible successor along with Kim Beazley and Kevin Rudd.
After appearing on the ABC's Australian Story program in March 2006, an Ipsos Mackay poll in April 2006, conducted for the Ten Network's Meet the Press program, found that respondents would prefer Gillard to be Labor leader. She polled 32% compared to 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 be contesting the leadership, allowing Beazley to be elected unopposed.
Deputy Leader of the Opposition
On 1 December 2006, in a cross factional political partnership with Kevin Rudd, Gillard launched a challenge for the deputy leadership of the ALP. Once Rudd was elected as leader, the incumbent deputy leader and Kim Beazley's deputy, Jenny Macklin, did not contest the contest and on 4 December 2006 she was elected unopposed. In the frontbench reshuffle following the leadership change, Gillard was elected to take the Employment and Workplace Relations portfolio.
Deputy Prime Minister of Australia: 2007–10
The Labor Party won the 2007 federal election and, on 3 December 2007, Gillard was sworn in as Deputy Prime Minister of Australia.
In addition to the deputy prime ministership, Gillard was given responsibility for a so-called "super ministry", the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations. She has three distinct portfolios: Minister for Education; Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations; and Minister for Social Inclusion. In her role as Minister for Education, Gillard travelled to Washington, D.C. where she signed a deal with the United States Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, to nurture 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, by assuming the role of acting prime minister while Kevin Rudd attended the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Bali. In the first year of government, she served as acting prime minister for 69 days during Rudd's overseas travel engagements.
Gillard is a highly regarded debater and her performances during parliamentary question time have prompted Peter van Onselen to call her "the best parliamentary performer on the Labor side".
Minister for Education, Employment and Workplace Relations
Gillard removed the WorkChoices industrial relations regime introduced by the Howard government, and replaced it with the Fair Work Bill. This established a single industrial relations bureaucracy called Fair Work Australia.
In 2009 Gillard oversaw the government's "Building the Education Revolution" program, which allocated AU$16 billion to build new school accommodation including classrooms, libraries and assembly halls.
Prime Minister of Australia
On 23 June 2010, after meetings throughout the evening between Gillard and then Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, as well as factional leaders, Rudd addressed the awaiting media at 10:30 pm AEST and announced that Gillard had asked Rudd to resign or hold a leadership ballot in the 115 member caucus the following day to determine the leadership of the Labor Party and hence the prime ministership of Australia.
Rudd initially said he'd challenge Gillard at the election. However, hours before the vote, he resigned as leader when it became apparent that he didn't have enough support to overcome Gillard and keep his post. Gillard thus won the election unopposed. Shortly afterward, she was sworn in as the 27th Prime Minister of Australia by Governor-General Quentin Bryce. The same caucus meeting appointed Australian Treasurer Wayne Swan to succeed Gillard as Labor's deputy leader, and hence Deputy Prime Minister of Australia.
On the same day as being sworn in, Gillard in her opening address 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" and acknowledged that at times the Rudd Government "went off the tracks ... I came to the view that a good Government was losing its way", distancing herself from the Rudd government's policies regarding problems with the Home Insulation Program, a significant delay to a planned carbon emissions reduction scheme, a move to introduce mandatory Internet filtering, and the introduction of the Resource Super Profits Tax.
Gillard is not married but has a partner, Tim Mathieson, a hairdresser. He does not cut her hair, however, other than the occasional blow wave. She does not have any children. Gillard said through a spokeswoman that she was a "non-practising Baptist" and "not religious". She is tolerant of public interest in her personal life, stating that "People want to know who you are, the shape of your life. That is legitimate."