Julia Gillard’s Official Biography
Hon Julia Gillard AC
27th Prime Minister of Australia
Julia Gillard was sworn in as the 27th Prime Minister of Australia on 24 June 2010 and served in that office until June 2013.
As Prime Minister and in her previous role as Deputy Prime Minister, Ms Gillard was central to the successful management of Australia’s economy, the 12th biggest economy in the world, during the Global Financial Crisis and as Australia positioned to seize the benefits of Asia’s rise.
Ms Gillard delivered nation-changing policies including reforming Australian education at every level from early childhood to university education, creating an emissions trading scheme, improving the provision and sustainability of health care, aged care and dental care, commencing the nation’s first ever national scheme to care for people with disabilities and restructuring the telecommunications sector as well as building the National Broadband Network.
In foreign policy, Ms Gillard strengthened Australia’s alliance with the United States, secured stronger architecture for the relationship with China, upgraded Australia’s ties with India, and deepened ties with Japan, Indonesia and South Korea.
Ms Gillard has represented Australia at the G20, including winning Australia’s right to host the 2014 meeting, the East Asia Summit, APEC, NATO-ISAF, and chaired CHOGM.
Under Ms Gillard’s leadership, Australia was elected to serve on the United Nations Security Council.
As Prime Minister, Ms Gillard developed Australia’s guiding policy paper, Australia in the Asian Century.
Ms Gillard is the first woman to ever serve as Australia’s Prime Minister or Deputy Prime Minister.
In October 2012, Ms Gillard received worldwide attention for her speech in Parliament on the treatment of women in professional and public life.
In February 2014, Ms Gillard was appointed chair of the Global Partnership for Education, a leading organisation dedicated to expanding access and quality education worldwide.
Ms Gillard also serves as Patron of CAMFED, the Campaign for Female Education, which tackles poverty and inequality by supporting girls to go to school and succeed, and empowering young women to step up as leaders of change.
In 2017, Ms Gillard became Chair of Beyond Blue, Australia’s leading mental health awareness body.
In April 2018, Ms Gillard was appointed Inaugural Chair of the Global Institute for Women’s Leadership at Kings College, London. Through research, practice and advocacy, GIWL is addressing women’s under-representation in leadership, and the way gender negatively impacts the valuation of women leaders. A sister institute has been launched at the Australian National University.
Ms Gillard is a Distinguished Fellow with the Center for Universal Education at the Brookings Institution in Washington. Ms Gillard serves as an Honorary Professor at the University of Adelaide, and is Patron of the John Curtin Prime Ministerial Library in Perth, Western Australia.
Ms Gillard is the author of two books: My Story, which provides a detailed account of Ms Gillard’s time as Prime Minister, was published in September 2014.
Her second book ‘Women and Leadership: real lives, real lessons’ which she co-authored with Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala was published in July 2020. It analyses the influence of gender on women’s access to positions of leadership, the perceptions of them as leaders, the trajectory of their leadership and the circumstances in which it comes to an end.
On Australia Day 2017, Ms Gillard was honoured to be awarded a Companion of the Order of Australia.
Ms Gillard was born in Barry, Wales in 1961. She is the daughter of a nurse and aged care worker. Her family migrated to Australia in 1966 and she grew up in Adelaide. Ms Gillard became an Australian citizen in 1974 along with the rest of her family, and renounced her British citizenship before entering Parliament.
Ms Gillard was educated at Mitcham Demonstration School and Unley High School in South Australia.
Julia Gillard started her Arts and Law degrees at the University of Adelaide. In 1982 she was elected national Education Vice-President of the Australian Union of Students (AUS) and moved to Melbourne. In 1983, she was elected AUS President. Following her term in office, Ms Gillard completed her degrees at University of Melbourne.
After graduating Ms Gillard began work as a solicitor in Melbourne with the law firm Slater and Gordon and became a Partner in 1990. Ms Gillard’s practice at the firm focused on employment law where she worked on securing fairer treatment for workers and fought for clothing trades outworkers who had been underpaid.
From 1996 to 1998 Ms Gillard served as Chief-of-Staff to the then Opposition Leader of the State of Victoria, John Brumby.
Julia Gillard first contested the Federal seat of Lalor for the Australian Labor Party in 1998 and was elected that year.
From 1998 to 2001 Ms Gillard served on the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Employment, Education and Workplace Relations. In 2001 Ms Gillard was appointed Shadow Minister for Population and Immigration and subsequently took on responsibilities for Reconciliation and Indigenous Affairs in 2003.
From 2003 to 2006 Ms Gillard served as Shadow Minister for Health. On 4 December 2006 Ms Gillard was appointed Deputy Leader of the Australian Labor Party and served as Shadow Minister for Employment and Industrial Relations, and Shadow Minister for Social Inclusion.
Following the Australian Labor Party’s victory at the 2007 Federal Election, Ms Gillard was sworn in as Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Education, Employment and Workplace Relations and Social Inclusion.