Julia Gillard

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Hindsight can give you insights about what went wrong. But only faith, reason and bravery can propel you forward.

Julia Eileen Gillard (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). She is the first and only female prime minister in Australian history.


  • I don't support the idea of a big Australia with arbitrary targets of, say, a 40 million-strong Australia or a 36 million-strong Australia. We need to stop, take a breath and develop policies for a sustainable Australia... I support a population that our environment, our water, our soil, our roads and freeways, our busses, our trains and our services can sustain.
  • Now I understand for Mr Downer and other members of the chattering classes in the Liberal Party: they might think what qualifies you to know about national security, is you sit in a minister's office typing press releases all of your lives, with the greatest risk to your personal safety being a papercut – Mr Downer might think that's appropriate; well I do not.
  • What I believe, what the Labor Party believes, is that marriage is between a man and a woman.
  • There will be no carbon tax under the government I lead.
    • 2010 Australian federal election ALP policy announcement, 16 August 2010
    • "PM says no carbon tax under her govt", on Ten News, 16 August 2010
  • I know the Leader of the Opposition [Tony Abbott] has an unhealthy kind of obsession with the so-called "faceless men in the Labor Party"; what he really should be obsessed about is the useless men sitting behind him.
  • Will the misogynists and the nut jobs on the internet continue to circulate them? Yes, they will. And it wouldn't matter what I said and it wouldn't matter what documents were produced and it wouldn't matter what anybody else said, they will pursue this claim for motivations of their own which are malicious and not in any way associated with the facts.
  • Here he [Abbott] is, trying to fudge one way and fudge the other; This morning he went out and accused me of a crime. Back it up or shut up.
    • In Question Time, 29 November 2012
  • It's a cute project to work on.
  • We cannot have the government or the Labor party go to the next election with a person leading the party and a person floating around as the potential alternative leader. Anybody who enters the ballot tonight should do it on the following conditions: that if you win you're Labor leader, that if you lose you retire from politics.
  • There's been a lot of analysis about the so-called gender wars . . . me playing the so-called gender card because heavens knows no-one noticed I was a woman until I raised it, but against that background, I do want to say about all of these issues, the reaction to being the first female Prime Minister does not explain everything about my Prime Ministership, nor does it explain nothing about my Prime Ministership. I've been a little bit bemused by those colleagues in the newspaper who have admitted that I have suffered more pressure as a result of my gender than other Prime Ministers in the past but then concluded that it had zero effect on my political position or the political position of the Labor Party. It doesn't explain everything . . . it explains some things. And it is for the nation to think in a sophisticated way about those shades of grey. What I am absolutely confident of is it will be easier for the next woman and the woman after that and the woman after that - and I'm proud of that.

Misogyny speech


During a debate moved by then-Leader of the Opposition Tony Abbott on 9 October 2012 to remove then-Speaker Peter Slipper for alleged sexist comments, Gillard delivered a speech rebuking Abbott's own attitude towards her (transcript)

  • I will not be lectured about sexism and misogyny by this man. I will not. And the Government will not be lectured about sexism and misogyny by this man. Not now, not ever. The Leader of the Opposition says that people who hold sexist views and who are misogynists are not appropriate for high office. Well, I hope the Leader of the Opposition has got a piece of paper and he is writing out his resignation, because if he wants to know what misogyny looks like in modern Australia he does not need a motion in the House of Representatives; he needs a mirror.
  • I was very offended personally when the Leader of the Opposition, as Minister of Health, said, and I quote, “Abortion is the easy way out.” I was very personally offended by those comments. You said that in March 2004, I suggest you check the records. I was also very offended on behalf of the women of Australia when in the course of the carbon pricing campaign the Leader of the Opposition said, 'What the housewives of Australia need to understand as they do the ironing.' Thank you for that painting of women's roles in modern Australia!
  • I was offended when the Leader of the Opposition went outside the front of the parliament and stood next to a sign that said 'Ditch the witch'. I was offended when the Leader of the Opposition stood next to a sign that described me as a man's bitch. I was offended by those things. Misogyny, sexism, every day from this Leader of the Opposition. Every day, in every way, across the time the Leader of the Opposition has sat in that chair and I have sat in this chair, that is all we have heard from him.
  • I indicate to the Leader of the Opposition that the government is not dying of shame—my father did not die of shame. What the Leader of the Opposition should be ashamed of is his performance in this parliament and the sexism he brings with it.
  • The Leader of the Opposition says, 'Do something'; well he could do something himself if he wanted to deal with sexism in this parliament. He could change his behaviour, he could apologise for all his past statements and he could apologise for standing next to signs describing me as a witch and a bitch—terminology now objected to by the frontbench of the opposition. He could change standards himself if he sought to do so. But we will see none of that from the Leader of the Opposition, because on these questions he is incapable of change. He is capable of double standards but incapable of change.
  • Good sense, common sense and proper process are what should rule this parliament. That is what I believe is the path forward for this parliament, not the kinds of double standards and political game playing imposed by the Leader of the Opposition, who is now looking at his watch because, apparently, a woman has spoken for too long [loud protests from the Opposition benches]—I have had him yell at me to shut up in the past!

The Killing Season


Gillard, Rudd and various key Labor Party officials involved in the Rudd and Gillard Governments (2007–13) participated in the 2015 Australian television, The Killing Season, which analyses the events of the Rudd-Gillard years.

Gillard and Rudd at their first press conference as deputy leader and leader, respectively, in December 2006

Episode one: The Prime Minister and his Loyal Deputy (2006–09)


The first episode of the series focussed on Rudd and Gillard as leader and deputy leader, respectively, and their successes in power, as well as early signs of leadership instability (Episode One, ABC).

  • It's a big emotional thing to do, to challenge the leadership of your political party. There is nothing pleasant about it, there's nothing fun about it. It's quite a horrible gut-wrenching process.
  • Tactics hadn't gone [Rudd's] way – I had taken a view about something else forming the issue of the day – and after the tactics meeting broke up he very physically stepped into my space, and it was quite a bullying encounter. It was a menacing, angry, performance.
  • I thought that, that side of [Rudd's] character – the very anxious, 'I must be in the media, I must shine in Parliament today' – would fall away when he became Labor leader and there was no more fighting for the spotlight; the spotlight was well and truly on him.

Episode two: Great Moral Challenge (2009–10)


The second episode of the series documented the events leading up to the leadership challenge in June 2010 (Episode Two, ABC).

  • The sense of regret that we didn't need to be here. The sense of friendship lost, something very special lost, the team ability of the two of us. That was sitting very heavily on me.
    • Gillard recalls what was most troubling to her during the 2010 Labor Party leadership turmoil.
  • I was seriously worried about his psychological state, I thought he wasn't coping, and he wasn't showing any signs of finding a way back to coping ... At that point, if you'd asked him to make a huge decision as Prime Minister on that day, yes, I would have been concerned about his capacity. My sense of him at that point was that he was spent in a physical and psychological sense.
    • Recalling Rudd's psychological status in January 2010, following the December 2009 Climate Change Summit, in Copenhagen.
  • Kevin was very fragile in the face of criticism including the implied criticism that comes with bad polls or bad news stories.
  • In terms of the big decisions before the Government, he was incapable of making them. He, as a seasoned politician from the TV cameras could turn it on, but his demeanour behind closed doors was absolutely miserable, irritated. If I was going to summarise it: personally miserable, politically paralysed.
  • It is not normal for a Deputy Prime Minister to end up running a Prime Minister's diary, chairing staff meetings. It's not normal for a Deputy Prime Minister to be trying to manage so that quality speeches are given.
  • I don't think it would have been possible ... You always have choices, yes, but I don't think there was any way of stuffing the genie back into the bottle.
    • Responding to the claim that she would have been able to call off her leadership challenge against Rudd, following their final meeting on the night of 23 June 2010.

Episode three: The Long Shadow (2010–13)


The third and final episode of the series focussed on the immediate aftermath of the 2010 leadership spill, Gillard's term as Prime Minister, and Rudd's challenges to the leadership (Episode Three, ABC).

  • I always had this long shadow from the way in which I became Prime Minister, and active steps were taken basically every day of my prime ministership to have that shadow become darker and darker, not lighter and lighter.
  • I was very conscience that if you put even your toe on this very sticky piece of paper, then you would be caught on it.
    • On her initial decision not to disclose details of her final meeting with Rudd, prior to challenging him for the Labor Party leadership in June 2010.
  • There is nothing that should lead you to expect bastardry of that magnitude. Hard things happen; a hard thing happened to Malcolm Turnbull, a hard thing happened to Bob Hawke, a hard thing happened Kim Beazley, a hard thing happened to Kevin Rudd, a hard thing happened to me. You can still make choices on how you conduct yourself.
  • I really don’t know why this wasn’t a career ending moment for Tony Abbott. Sexism is no better than racism.
    • In response to Opposition leader Abbott standing in front of signs labelling Gillard a "witch" and a "bitch".
  • When there was bad behaviour – and Kevin consistently danced right out on that line of bad behaviour – I couldn’t do that much to discipline him because the nature of minority government is kind of everybody’s got their hand on the grenade and anybody could pull the pin.
  • It did seem to me that tomorrow you could wake up to anything, and that there just are no rules anymore.
  • It was inconceivable to me that the kind of anti-Labor work that Kevin had been involved in – the destabilisation, the leaking – would be rewarded by the leadership.
  • I could hear the forces massing. I was very keen to make sure that I got our big reforms done before those forces could reach a critical point.
  • You've got to gather yourself, you've got to give the speech, go see the Governor-General, do all of that. And then you get to have a few drinks with friends, so that's not that hard.
  • I don’t see what alternate reality was possible other than the one’s we lived through. So I think people are really wistfully hoping for something that was never going to be.
    • In response to suggestions that Rudd and Gillard were better as a team, as opposed to rivals.

From the autobiography

  • "There was no cataclysmic moment of revelation, but as I moved into my 20's, doubts grew and then overwhelmed." ...
    • I suspect there was nothing original about my journey, but it led me to a quiet, but firm belief:
      • that this mortal world, is it.
      • And, our measure as human beings, is entirely defined by what we do within it.

  • 'Because it's there' could never be enough of an explanation for entering politics. ...
    • My focus on work comes from my own childhood and my own personal experience.
      My parents, particularly Dad, taught me through word and deed that the world does not owe you a living.
      That you should expect throughout your life to be required to earn what you intend to spend.

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