‘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.’
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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 twenty-seventh – and first female – prime minister. 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 realize 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 meeting international obligations and building strategic alliances for the 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 Labour Party.
In this refreshingly honest account, peppered with 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 we see what lay 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 female leader in contemporary politics.
Here, in her own words, Julia Gillard reveals what life was really like as Australia’s first female prime minister.