Whatever your political leanings or agenda, you would have to concede that Julia Gillard was an accomplished Prime Minister of Australia. During the three years as Australia’s first female PM, in which she led a minority government, a record amount of legislation was passed.
Not only did she have to constantly negotiate with minor parties, she had to endure some of the worst public sexism ever directed at a female PM in any country, most of it instigated by the then Opposition Leader Tony Abbott and the rest of his Liberal and National Coalition Party. As if that wasn’t enough to deal with, Ms Gillard was vilified daily in the News Ltd Press, owned by ex-Australian, Rupert Murdoch, which was determined to see her government thrown out of office. Tony Abbott was Rupert Murdoch’s choice for Prime Minister, supported by the four Big Banks, and the huge Mining Corporations! Once Tony Abbott moved into The Lodge, it was goodbye mining tax and carbon price! Don’t get me started on why his government can’t pass its ill-fated Budget, after more than one year in government!
So much has been written about Ms Gillard’s ‘deposing’ of her predecessor, Kevin Rudd, so I don’t want to go into the details here. However, it has now become clear that this man was a failed Prime Minister, who then made it his sole purpose in life for the three years Ms Gillard was in office, to undermine her every move. If you are interested in how he went about the destruction of his own party, read The Stalking Of Julia Gillard: How The Media And Team Rudd brought down the Prime Minister. It was written by Kerry-Anne Walsh, an astute parliamentary journalist. A very interesting look at behind the scenes revelations.
Julia Gillard is a 21st Century woman who made personal sacrifices in order to get to the top in politics. For her, a fairer system of funding for education in Australian public schools was a number one priority, with a more comprehensive disability insurance scheme a close second. Time will tell how much of PM Gillard’s hard work on educational and disability reforms will be unraveled by this current government. The Carbon Price and Mining Taxes her government legislated for, were earmarked to pay for many of those reforms.
By 2011, I was already a devoted fan of Julia Gillard’s. Not because she was a woman, but because she was by then, showing signs of becoming a great stateswoman. I presented Prime Minister Gillard with a copy of my book, ‘Whatever Happened To Ishtar?’ which had just been published. The reason I wanted her to have a copy, was to show that I agreed with her wholeheartedly that every child deserves to be given the chance of a good education, but even more especially, disadvantaged children. My book is about the many generations of women in my family tree who never had the opportunity of a good education. Marriage or the nunnery were their only choices. I had a deprived and abusive childhood, but I did receive a good education which gave me so many more choices.
A few weeks after she received my book, the following letter arrived in my mail box:
I was overjoyed, as I had never expected our Prime Minister to take time out of her enormous workload, to acknowledge my humble book. That was just one more of the many admirable attributes exhibited by this remarkable woman. In the last week or so I attended one of Ms Gillard’s book promotional talks which was attended by over 400 people. Afterwards, she autographed many, many copies of her book, ‘My Story’, including mine below:
This is a truly inspirational book by a woman who has reached the very top in Australian politics. It’s much more than a Prime Minister’s memoir of her time in office, though. It is also about her thoughts and feelings, and how she managed to keep her sense of self intact throughout those times of ruthless sexism and derogatory personal statements against her. As she herself stated during the talk she gave at the launching of My Story, ‘politics can be bitter sweet, but my time as Prime Minister, was more sweet than bitter’. I thought she gave an impressive, spirited speech on the night I was present, and afterward answered many questions from the mixed gender audience. The whole enjoyable evening was interspersed with much clapping and laughter.
One thing I can assure readers of, is that Ms Gillard’s Story is much more riveting and enjoyable than any other political memoir I have ever read, and it is certainly never boring!
– Anne Frandi-Coory 13 October 2014