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Thank You, Julia Gillard.

Date: 27 June 2013

To Julia Gillard, Australia’s first woman Prime Minister. Many thanks for doing the hard work so that other women may follow. Given what you have had to endure, from within and without your own ranks, it’s hard to imagine why anyone would choose to. But therein lies the most important lesson you have provided all women who want to achieve the top in their chosen field. Retain your resilience and work for what you believe in.

Praised by her deputy, Wayne Swan, as one of ‘the toughest warriors’ the Australian Labor Party has ever known, Julia Gillard stood strongly against an incessantly negative Opposition leader, surrounded by an irrationally hostile media, and up against forces within her own party determined to undermine her. Despite all this, she worked productively within a difficult minority government, and impressed the independent members she had to negotiate with. Unfortunately, the success of her government and the business it conducted was never fully appreciated.

As Gillard noted last night, the reaction of Australians to their first female PM does not explain everything about her tenure, nor does it explain nothing at all. ‘It explains some things. And it is for the nation to think in a sophisticated way about those shades of grey.’ She knows, however, that her resilience in the position has made it easier for the next woman to take on the post. ‘And the woman after that and the woman after that. And I’m proud of that’. So she should be.

Like or dislike her, Julia Gillard smashed many of the stereotypes we’ve come to expect from women in leadership. Along with her (womanly?) consultative approach that worked well with the members sitting in the cross benches, and many in her own party, she also showed us that women can compete in combative and adversarial environments. Who can forget the famous Julia Gillard misogyny speech in parliament?

Thank you Julia Gillard. Gracious to the end, we wish you well. Thank you for your public service and enjoy being a meddlesome Great Aunt.


  1. Anne Buttsworth says:

    Thank you for these comments Nikki. I absolutely agree with all you’ve said.

  2. Robbie Henderson says:

    It was always going to be tough for the first female PM but Julia had it tougher than most. She was, and I am sure will continue to be, a great role model for women. The three generations of women in our family salute her, will miss her and wish her well.

  3. Wendy Freeman says:

    Julia, Thank you for standing as vanguard, taking the punishment and being the heretic that we women, and our girl children’s children will benefit in the generations to come. May the force always be with you, and us!! Thank you.

  4. Joan Laing says:

    Thank you Julia – you will be long remember mainly for “that” speech but also for the good and right things you did for our nation.

    I am embarrassed about the current PM and the M & sexism that is alive and well in Australia.

    Fancy rewarding KR for all his !!@@##$$%% – it’s not right and we will all rue the day.

    Tony Abbott in my mind was always a nightmare but to stop a mentally unstable dictaor taking the reins of our country I will now vote for the Liberals – and that is sure saying something

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