Australia's former PM Julia Gillard broke the mould – then it broke her

 

Share
Related Topics

When Julia Gillard  became Australia’s first female PM in June 2010, it was seen as a milestone for gender equality in Australia.

Ms Gillard herself said she “didn’t set out to crash my head on any glass ceilings”. And until her now-notorious “misogyny speech” in October, in which she accused the opposition leader, Tony Abbott, of a litany of sexist actions and remarks, she never made an issue of her gender.

 What role it played in her political demise will be debated endlessly here. She probably gave the most accurate analysis herself last night, saying it “doesn’t explain everything about my prime ministership, nor does it explain nothing”.

The main reasons for her lack of popularity were the way she came to power – Australians felt cheated by the ousting of Mr Rudd, for whom they had voted – and for her abandonment of a promise never to introduce a carbon tax. She reneged on that in order to secure support from the Greens for her minority government.

Warm and personable in private, Ms Gillard also struggled to engage with voters. But misogyny also played a part. She was subjected to a sustained campaign of offensive jokes and cartoons, of which the recently revealed menu for a Liberal Party fundraising dinner – featuring “Julia Gillard Kentucky Fried Quail: small breasts, huge thighs and a big red box” – was the tip of the iceberg.

Ms Gillard said she was “absolutely confident... it will be easier for the next woman, and the woman after that”. But it will take a brave woman – and Ms Gillard was described by one colleague as “one of the toughest warriors” to lead Labor – to follow in  her footsteps.

React Now

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Marketing Manager

£36000 - £38000 per annum: Charter Selection: Charter Selection are working wi...

Accounts Assistant, Hammersmith

£25000 per annum: Charter Selection: Exciting sports company with a strong bra...

Financial Accountant-IFRS-Gloucester-£300/day

£250 - £295 per day + competitive: Orgtel: Financial Accountant - IFRS - Glouc...

Technical Support Engineer - Central London - £30,000

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Support Engineer - Central London...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

This is why I am among the thousands leaving teaching this month

Chris Sloggett
 

The daily catch-up: Neigh-Drama Obama, changing welfare and how to tell if you are a journalist

John Rentoul
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice
Hollywood targets Asian audiences as US films enjoy record-breaking run at Chinese box office

Hollywood targets Asian audiences

The world's second biggest movie market is fast becoming the Hollywood studios' most crucial
Grindr founder Joel Simkhai: 'I've found love on my dating app - and my mum keeps trying to hook me up!'

Grindr founder Joel Simkhai: 'I've found love on my dating app'

Five years on from its launch and Grindr is the world's most popular dating app for gay men. Its founder Joel Simkhai answers his critics, describes his isolation as a child
Autocorrect has its uses but it can go rogue with embarrassing results - so is it time to ditch it?

Is it time to ditch autocorrect?

Matthew J X Malady persuaded friends to message manually instead, but failed to factor in fat fingers and drunk texting
10 best girls' summer dresses

Frock chick: 10 best girls' summer dresses

Get them ready for the holidays with these cool and pretty options 
Westminster’s dark secret: Adultery, homosexuality, sadomasochism and abuse of children were all seemingly lumped together

Westminster’s dark secret

Adultery, homosexuality, sadomasochism and abuse of children were all seemingly lumped together
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Dulce et decorum est - a life cut short for a poet whose work achieved immortality

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Dulce et decorum est: a life cut short for a poet whose work achieved immortality
Google tells popular music website to censor album cover art in 'sexually explicit content' ban

Naked censorship?

The strange case of Google, the music website and the nudity take-down requests
Howzat! 8 best cricket bats

Howzat! 8 best cricket bats

As England take on India at Trent Bridge, here is our pick of the high-performing bats to help you up your run-count this summer 
Brazil vs Germany World Cup 2014 comment: David Luiz falls from leader figure to symbol of national humiliation

David Luiz falls from leader figure to symbol of national humiliation

Captain appears to give up as shocking 7-1 World Cup semi-final defeat threatens ramifications in Brazil