By KATE LEAVER
Julia Gillard came to Mamamia HQ this morning.
The woman we’ve all been casually worshipping for years. The first female Prime Minister of this country. One of the more resolute, dignified, effective leaders we’ve had.
Ms Gillard sat down with our editor in chief Jamila Rizvi (who yes, before you point it out, used to work for the Labor party) for an hour to talk policy, politics, and gender.
YOU WILL BE ABLE TO WATCH THE WHOLE THING VERY SOON. Promise.
Jamila quizzed Ms Gillard about the day she chose to support Kevin Rudd in 2006 and the day she dethroned him in 2010. She asked her about childcare (“It always has to be about getting women back to work, and early education,” Ms Gillard said. “Always both.”) and told her unequivocally that she needs to change her stance on same-sex marriage (“I’m going to disappoint you on that one, Jamila,” Ms Gillard said.)
Talking to Jam, Ms Gillard got the chance to talk about real politics. There was only a passing mention of her family, her partner, and her dog. And no mention whatsoever of her hair. Just the way it should be.
If you didn’t know it already, we’re all huge, huge Julia Gillard fans at MM HQ.
At first, we didn’t think there would be time for photos. So, some of us took some sneaky selfies…
But Ms Gillard was incredibly generous with her smiles and her time. After we’d plied her with muffins and heckles about how much we respect her, she posed for a class photo with all of us.
Having Julia Gillard at MM HQ was really special, I’ve got to tell you. Meeting one of the most significant figures in recent Australian history was humbling, exciting, and just quietly — every bit as wonderful as we’d expected it would be.
For a politics nerd like me, this was the equivalent of a rock star turning up at work. It was a real struggle not to totally lose my cool. Actually, come to think of it, I did. A little bit.
When she walked in, I said: “This is even better than if Britney Spears visited the office!”
“I’m going to take that as a compliment… I think,” Ms Gillard said, that eyebrows arched.
“I MEANT IT AS ONE,” I bellowed across the room at Australia’s 27th Prime Minister.
And so that’s how our week has been. Monday: Countdown to Julia Gillard Day. Tuesday: Countdown to Julia Gillard Day. Wednesday: JULIA GILLARD DAY.
Scroll through all of our photos of Julia Gillard’s visit.
This is what it’s all about:
‘I was prime minister for three years and three days. Three years and three days of resilience.Three years and three days of changing the nation.Three years and three days for you to judge.’
On Wednesday 23 June 2010, with the government in turmoil, Julia Gillard asked Prime Minister Kevin Rudd for a leadership ballot.
The next day, Julia Gillard became Australia’s 27th prime minister, and our first female leader. Australia was alive to the historic possibilities. Here was a new approach for a new time.
It was to last three extraordinary years.
This is Julia Gillard’s chronicle of that turbulent time, a strikingly candid self-portrait of a political leader seeking to realise her ideals. It is her story of what it was like – in the face of government in-fighting and often hostile media – to manage a hung parliament, build a diverse and robust economy, create an equitable and world-class education system, ensure a dignified future for Australians with disabilities, all while attending to our international obligations and building strategic alliances for our future. This is a politician driven by a sense of purpose – from campus days with the Australian Union of Students, to a career in the law, to her often gritty, occasionally glittering rise up the ranks of the Australian Labor Party.
Refreshingly honest, peppered with a wry humour and personal insights, Julia Gillard does not shy away from her mistakes, admitting freely to errors, misjudgements, and policy failures as well as detailing her political successes. Here is an account of what was hidden behind the resilience and dignified courage Gillard showed as prime minister, her view of the vicious hate campaigns directed against her, and a reflection on what it means – and what it takes – to be a woman leader in contemporary politics.
Here, in her own words, Julia Gillard reveals what life was really like as Australia’s first female prime minister.
How’s your week been? If you could ask Julia Gillard one question, what would it be?