As one of the most talked about and polarised public figures in contemporary Australian history Julia Gillard can be ranked as one of the best Prime Ministers Australia has had so far. While much can be written about the short comings of her government this article will focus on the positive and amazing work she did as Prime Minster, which is deliberately left out of the main stream media.
As the first female Prime Minister of Australia she has set a new standard for girls and women across the country, that they can achieve what ever it is they want to achieve. Even though the way she came to power is under somewhat of cloud she was able to rise above it and accomplish much for the nation. As it has been said a record of a Prime Minister is shaped and judged when compared to their successor’s performance.
Julia Gillard was born in 1961, in a small village in Wales – Barry. In 1966 her family moved to South Australia. It was her father’s dream to go to Australia because he wanted his children to have greater opportunities in life. Her parents worked hard when they arrived and it was this example of hard work that has had the greatest influence on Gillard. In 1986 after much hard work and study she graduated from university with a bachelor of Arts and Law.
Julia Gillard was first elected to the House of Representatives in the 1998 federal election for the seat of Lalor, Victoria. Following the 2001 federal election, she was elected to the Shadow Cabinet and was given the portfolio of Population and Immigration. In 2003, she took on responsibility for both Reconciliation and Indigenous Affairs and Health. In December 2006 Kevin Rudd was elected as Labor Leader and became the Leader of the Opposition and Gillard was elected unopposed as his deputy.
2007 saw a Labor win with Kevin Rudd as Prime Minister and than on the 24 June 2010 Australia had its first female Prime Minister. When she become Prime Minister her parents, especially her father were filled with so much pride and that pride grew day by day until his final day.
As Prime Minister, Julia Gillard was able to pass more legislation with a minority government than any other government in Australian Parliamentary history. The International Business Times has ranked former Prime Minister Gillard as one of the most effective Prime Minister Australia has ever had.
Prime Minister Gillard didn’t have the easiest Prime Ministership . She had to face down a very hostile Opposition and a wide spread campaign of sexism directed at her. It was such a vile campaign Australia had not seen before or since. The campaign was encouraged and cultivated by the Opposition and their desire to get into power. She also had to deal with a mainstream media that was out to torpedo her and her government.
Apart from the negativity that surrounded her time in politics, she could have easily become quite bitter about it all, she had and still dose have many positive aspects such as, being a skilful negotiator and a consensus builder. One of the greatest achievements Prime Minister Gillard was her ability to introduce great reforms for the nation. Reforms that the country needed as is heads into the 21st century.
One of her greatest reforms was the National Disability Insurance Scheme, the NDIS. The NDIS is and will be one of great her political legacy. The NDIS is a social insurance scheme that will transform the way disability services are provided in Australia. The concept for the NDIS was developed following a Productivity Commission report which addressed the lack of response and timely interventions of care and support for individuals and their families affected by disability. This program will give millions an opportunity to live full lives for those who need care and those who give care.
Julia Gillard and her government had many other achievements as well, the following are five achievements that have had, and will have, a great and positive effect on the country for years to come:
▪pay equity for lower wage earners which had a enormous positive impact for women
▪removed work choices which put stability back in working people’s lives
▪sustained economic growth for the nation during the GFC, which the rest of world was jealous of
▪Built and enhanced relations with Indonesia, China and the United States
▪took positive action on climate change and the environment
One of the most remarkable attributes of the former Prime Minister is the fact that after having endured the nastiness from the press, the opposition and white anting from within her own party she has not turned bitter and spiteful of all those around her. She has a resilience and strength about her which was unmatched and still is in the political life of Australia.
Under Prime Minister Gillard Australia was ranked 0.88 out of a perfect 1.0 and was the tops in Asia Pacific as far as limited government is concerned.
Another major initiative was when Julia Gillard established the Royal Commission into child sexual abuse in institutional settings. This was the first serious undertaking in to such tragic incidences. The Royal Commission is still working its way around the country. Julia Gillard said about the commission “I believe it will have many years of work in front of it but it will change the nation. It will change individual lives as people get to come forward and tell their story.It will change the nation because we will learn how to better protect our children for the future.” Even though she didn’t have children herself she was still able to connect with them and she knew what was important for them – education and protection.
As Prime Minister she took great pride in the Australian Armed Forces. She respected what they did. Julia Gillard attended 24 funerals for soldiers lost in Afghanistan and said in her farewell speech “I’m very aware of the courage and the sacrifice and part of being Prime Minister has been being there for those families in their darkest moments.”
Her views towards the sexsism that was directed towards were ” I’ve been a little bit bemused by those colleagues in the newspapers 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 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. 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.” Julia Gillard truly is a modern day pioneer.
The extremely distressing thing to see now is the spiteful destruction , by the Liberal-National Coalition, of all that Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Federal Parliamentary Labor Party colleagues had worked so hard to achieve.
One of Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s finest moments in the Parliament which was praised around the world (Source ABC youtube):
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