Julia Gillard

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Julia Gillard is an atheist Australian politician and former Prime Minister of Australia.

Gillard called a Federal election for 21 August 2010 to try and achieve a mandate in her own right. The election was much closer than expected and almost resulted in a hung parliament. After three weeks of negotiations she was able to form a government with a majority of 2 seats, making her the first elected female Australian Prime Minister.

Her government is formed in the House of Representative of the Parliament of Australia as a coalition of seventy-two members of the Australian Labour Party, one Green Party member and three independants (a total of 76 seats), while the opposition is a coalition of the Liberal Party of Australia (44 seats), Liberal-National Queensland (21), the National Party (7), one Country Liberal and one independent.

Gillard's liberal Labour Party Government is the most unpopular for 15 years, largely due to her misguided attempt at a carbon tax to combat "climate change".[1]

On Jun 26th 2013 the ALP caucus voted against Ms Gillard, reinstating Kevin Rudd as their leader and effectively ending her prime minister-ship. Gillard promised to retire from politics.

Professional training and public life

Gillard is a lawyer by profession, and served as a lawyer for a trade union before entering politics.

She won the Federal parliamentary seat for the Division of Lalor (in south-western suburban Melbourne, Victoria) on 3 October 1998, and has served (in Opposition) as:

  • Shadow Minister for Population and Immigration: 2001–2003
  • Shadow Minister for Health: 2003–06
  • Deputy Leader of the Opposition from 1 December 2006

then, in government, as:

  • Deputy Prime Minister: 2007–10
  • Minister for Education, Employment and Workplace Relations
  • Prime Minister from 24 June 2010 to 27 Jun 2013

2010 leadership grab

On 23 June 2010, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd called a press conference announcing that a leadership ballot of the Australian Labor Party would occur on the morning of 24 June 2010, with the candidates being himself and Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard.[2] This followed weeks of speculation that senior members of the ALP were beginning to lose confidence in Rudd and would back Gillard in replacing him if necessary. By the eve of the election, it was obvious that Rudd didn't have enough support to remain ALP leader and Prime Minister. After personal discussions between Gillard and Rudd later in the evening, Gillard returned with an ultimatum. After this late-night meeting, Rudd withdrew his candidacy and resigned as party leader, leaving Gillard to take the leadership unopposed. Gillard was then sworn in as Australia's 27th Prime Minister by Governor-General Quentin Bryce and became Australia's first female Prime Minister on 24 June 2010, with Treasurer Wayne Swan being appointed Deputy Prime Minister.[3] This set the scene for fluctuating polling figures and a gradual decline in Gillard's relative popularity compared to both Rudd and the Leader of the Opposition, Tony Abbott.[4]

2012 leadership battle

On 23 February 2012, she announced that she would declare vacant the position of party lerader at a meeting of the elected members on 27 February 2012, thus inviting other members to offer themselves for the office of Prime Minister. This followd the dramatic resignation earlier in the day (in Washingtom DC) by Kevin Rudd, who claimed that she was not backing him as Foreign Minister.

Gillard portrayed Rudd as “chaotic” and dysfunctional” as Prime Minister and implied that Rudd viewed the ballot process as "an episode of Celebrity Big Brother".[5][6] Rudd called for "people power" to support his run for the prime ministership, and accused Gillard of betraying him in 2010, calling it a coup, and questioned Gillard's trustworthiness.[7]

2013 leadership spill

On 26 Jun 2013, in response to dissent among the ALP, Ms Gillard again invited other members to offer themselves for the office of Prime Minister. This time Rudd stood against her and reclaimed office and leadership of the party.

Personal life

While Prime Minister, Gillard lived in the official residence of the Prime Minister, "The Lodge", with her partner, Tim Mathieson, a hairdresser by profession, and will soon hold another Lodge garage sale for items no longer needed. Gillard and Mathieson have lived together since 2006 but are not married and have no children. She had previous relationships with several trade union officials and a fellow Federal Labor Member of Parliament. She is expected to fall back on her knitting career after politics.

While Gillard was brought up in the Baptist tradition, she now professes to have no religious belief. She is quoted as saying "I think it would be inconceivable for me if I were an American to have turned up at the highest echelon of American politics being an atheist, single, female and childless."[8]


  1. https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/australiaandthepacific/australia/8458215/Julia-Gillards-Labor-government-most-unpopular-for-15-years.html
  2. By James Grubel, ABC Online News (23 June 2010). Australia PM Rudd calls leadership ballot. Abc.net.au. Retrieved on 28 December 2010.
  3. By online political correspondent Emma Rodgers (24 June 2010). Gillard ousts Rudd in Bloodless coup. Abc.net.au. Retrieved on 30 October 2010.
  4. Gillard and Rudd: How it came to this, ABC Online, 24 February 2012
  5. Julia Gillard calls leadership vote as Kevin Rudd states his case for a return as PM, Ben Packham and Lanai Vasek, The Australian, 24 February 2012
  6. February 24, 2012 9:23AM. Debate about leadership 'not an episode of Celebrity Big Brother', says Prime Minister. News.com.au. Retrieved on 2012-02-24.
  7. Australia leadership: Rudd and Gillard set for showdown. Bbc.co.uk (2010-06-24). Retrieved on 2012-02-24.
  8. https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/lally-weymouth-interviews-australian-prime-minister-julia-gillard/2013/03/08/9d0035c0-8733-11e2-999e-5f8e0410cb9d_story_2.html
Australian Prime Ministers
Edmund Barton (1901)

Alfred Deakin (1903, 1905, and 1909)
John Watson (1904)
George Reid (1904)
Andrew Fisher (1908, 1910, and 1914)
Joseph Cook (1913)
William Hughes (1915)

Stanley Bruce (1923)

James Scullin (1929)
Joseph Lyons (1932)
Earle Page (1939)
Robert Menzies (1939 and 1949)
Arthur Fadden (1941)
John Curtin (1941)

Francis Forde (1945)

Joseph Chifley (1945)
Harold Holt (1966)
John McEwen (1967)
John Gorton (1968)
William McMahon (1971)
Gough Whitlam (1972)

Malcolm Fraser (1975)

Robert Hawke (1983)
Paul Keating (1991)
John Howard (1996)
Kevin Rudd (2007)