ENG: Julia Eileen Gillard (born 29 September 1961) is the 27th and current Prime Minister of Australia since June 2010.
Gillard was elected at the 1998 federal election to the House of Representatives seat of Lalor, Victoria for the Australian Labor Party. Following the 2001 federal election, Gillard was elected to the shadow cabinet with the portfolios of Population and Immigration. The Reconciliation and Indigenous Affairs and the Health portfolios were added in 2003. In December 2006, Kevin Rudd was elected Labor leader and Leader of the Opposition, with Gillard as deputy leader.
Gillard became the Deputy Prime Minister upon Labor's victory in the 2007 federal election, also serving as Minister for Education, Employment and Workplace Relations. On 24 June 2010, after Rudd lost the support of his party and stood aside, Gillard became federal leader of the Australian Labor Party and thus the Prime Minister, the first ever female holder of the office.
The 2010 federal election saw the incumbent Gillard Labor government elected to a second term over the Tony Abbott-led Coalition opposition. Gillard, however, was reduced to a minority government, relying on the support of Australian Greens MP and three independent MPs.
Gillard was born in 1961 in Barry, Vale of Glamorgan, Wales.
After she suffered from bronchopneumonia as a child, her parents were advised it would aid her recovery if they were to live in a warmer climate. The family migrated to Australia in 1966, settling in Adelaide. Her parents, John and Moira, live in Pasadena, South Australia. She has a sister, Alison, who is three years older.
Gillard's father worked as a psychiatric nurse, while her mother worked at the local Salvation Army nursing home. She and her sister attended Mitcham Demonstration School, and Julia went on to attend Unley High School.
She then studied at the University of Adelaide but cut short her courses in 1982 and moved to Melbourne to work with the Australian Union of Students. She graduated from the University of Melbourne with Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Laws degrees in 1986.
In 1987, Gillard joined the law firm Slater & Gordon at Werribee, Melbourne, working in industrial law. In 1990, at the age of 29, she was admitted as a partner.
Introduced to politics in her second year at the University of Adelaide by the daughter of a State Labor Minister, Gillard joined the Labor Club and became involved in a campaign to fight federal education budget cuts.
After moving to Melbourne, in 1983 Gillard became the second woman to lead the Australian Union of Students. She was also formerly the secretary of the left-wing organisation, Socialist Forum.
From 1996 to 1998, Gillard served as Chief of Staff to John Brumby, at that time the Victorian opposition leader. She was responsible for drafting the affirmative action rules within the Labor Party in Victoria that set the target of preselecting women for 35 per cent of "winnable seats".
She also played a role in the foundation of EMILY's List, the pro-choice fund-raising and support network for Labor women.
The Welsh Labour politician Aneurin "Nye" Bevan remains one of her political heroes.
Deputy Prime Minister: 2007–2010
The Labor Party won the 2007 federal election and, on 3 December 2007, Gillard was sworn in as the first female 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 had 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, DC, where she signed a deal with the US Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, to enourage 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".
On 23 June 2010, after meetings throughout the evening between Gillard and Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, as well as factional leaders, Rudd addressed the waiting media at 10:30 pm AEST and announced that Gillard had asked him to 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 would challenge Gillard at the caucus. However, it soon became apparent that he didn't have enough support to fend off Gillard's challenge.
Hours before the vote, he stood aside as leader and ended his candidacy, leaving Gillard to take the leadership unopposed. At the same caucus meeting, Treasurer Wayne Swan was elected unopposed to succeed Gillard as Labor's deputy leader, and hence Deputy Prime Minister.
Shortly afterward, Gillard was sworn in as the 27th Prime Minister of Australia by the Governor-General, Quentin Bryce, and Wayne Swan was sworn in as her deputy.
Later that day, in her first press conference as Prime Minister, she said that at times the Rudd Government "went off the tracks", and "I came to the view that a good Government was losing its way". She also said that she wouldn't move into The Lodge unless she was elected Prime Minister in her own right, preferring to divide her time between a flat in Canberra and her home in Altona, a western suburb of Melbourne.
As well as being the first woman and the first who has never been married, Gillard is the first Prime Minister since Billy Hughes (1915–1923) to have been born overseas.
In the aftermath of the leadership challenge, Bill Shorten, former trade union leader, and key Parliamentary member of the ALP Right Faction, nominated the government's handling of the insulation program; the sudden announcement of change of policy on the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme; and the way in which they had "introduced the debate" about the Resource Super Profits Tax as the key considerations which had led to a shift in support from Kevin Rudd to Julia Gillard as leader of the party.
Although nominally a member of the Victorian Left faction of the Labor Party, her election to Prime Minister occurred because of support from the Right factions of the party, with the hard Left planning to support Rudd in the Caucus vote had there actually been one. Analyses of Jacqueline Kent's 2009 biography of Gillard suggest that her membership in the Left faction is "more organisational than ideological". In July 2010, historian Ross Fitzgerald said, "... at least since last year Gillard has sought to reposition herself more towards the Labor Right."
On population policy, Gillard is against a "big Australia", as opposed to predecessor Kevin Rudd who was in favour of population growth.
She emphasises the need for sustainability, saying "Australia should not hurtle down the track towards a big population". She supports Australia becoming a republic and has suggested that the end of Queen Elizabeth II's reign would be "probably the appropriate point for a transition".
Gillard has expressed a pro-choice position on abortion saying that "Women without money would be left without that choice or in the hands of backyard abortion providers" and that she understood "the various moral positions" regarding abortions.
Gillard has made clear she does not support the legalisation of gay marriage, saying that she believes "the Marriage Act is appropriate in its current form, that is recognising that marriage is between a man and a woman".
Personal life and views
Gillard's partner since 2006 is Tim Mathieson. She had previous relationships with union officials Michael O'Connor and Bruce Wilson and fellow Federal Labor MP Craig Emerson. She has never married and has no children.
Gillard was brought up in the Baptist tradition, but is not religious. In a 2010 interview when asked if she believed in God, Gillard stated: "No I don't ... I'm not a religious person ... [I'm] a great respecter of religious beliefs but they're not my beliefs."
. p>She lives in the south western Melbourne suburb of Altona and is a public supporter of the Western Bulldogs Australian football club.