A Look Back at Julia Gillard's Time as Australia's First Female Prime Minister
Julia Gillard marked her last day as the first female Prime Minister of Australia yesterday when she was ousted by returning PM Kevin Rudd after losing the caucus vote; the poll went 57-45 in Rudd’s favour. It was just over three years ago that Ms. Gillard was sworn in as Prime Minister after defeating Rudd in the same fashion, and in that time she left her political mark with initiatives such as the introduction of DisabilityCare, a National Disability Insurance Scheme, changes to education funding, and the commencement of the Royal Commission into child sexual abuse in institutional settings, all things she proudly made note of in her concession speech last night.
Her time as Prime Minister was also marred with criticism of her leadership skills, but when her former boss Kevin Rudd addressed media yesterday he focused on her strong points, calling her “a woman of extraordinary intelligence, of great strength and great energy” before acknowledging the changes she had made for the country.
Ms. Gillard will also be remembered for her feminist moments — no one will forget her famous misogyny speech in October 2012 — and towards the end of her speech she addressed whether her leadership skills had been affected by her gender, saying, “It doesn’t explain everything, it doesn’t explain nothing, it explains some things. And it is for the nation to think in a sophisticated way about those shades of grey.” She also added, “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.”
Click through to see some of Ms. Gillard’s highlights as Prime Minister of Australia, from meeting with people in disaster-affected regions to rubbing shoulders with royalty.