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Julia Eileen Gillard AC

Detail of portrait of Prime Minister Julia Gillard by Vincent Fantauzzo for the Historic Memorials Collection.

Vincent Fantuzzo (b.1977),  Julia Eileen Gillard (detail), 2018, Historic Memorials Collection, Parliament House Art Collection. View full image

Prime Minister, 24 June 2010 to 27 June 2013
Australian Labor Party

An empathetic and skilled negotiator who understood the necessity of compromise, Julia Gillard (b.1961) was Australia’s 27th Prime Minister and the first woman to hold the office.1 Facing the challenges of a divided party and leading the first federal minority government since the 1940s,2 she pursued an agenda of social reform.

Born in Barry, Wales, Gillard moved with her family to Adelaide in 1966. She joined the ALP while studying arts/law at the University of Melbourne, and became prominent in student politics. After graduation, Gillard joined Slater & Gordon where she specialised in industrial law.

After unsuccessful bids for party preselection in 1993 and 1996, Gillard worked as chief of staff to Victorian Opposition leader John Brumby. Campaigning for affirmative action in ALP preselections, she was a founding member of Emily’s List Australia.3 In 1998, she became the first Victorian ALP woman preselected for a safe federal seat (Lalor), which she won convincingly.4

Between 2001 and 2007, Gillard held several shadow portfolios, including immigration, health, and Indigenous affairs. When Kevin Rudd became leader in 2006, she was elected as deputy, with responsibility for employment, industrial relations, and social inclusion.5 In 2003 she became Manager of Opposition Business in the House of Representatives.

Following the ALP’s 2007 election victory, Gillard became Australia’s first female Deputy Prime Minister and less than a month later was acting Prime Minister when Rudd travelled overseas.When Rudd lost party room support in 2010, she was elected leader unopposed and commissioned Prime Minister the same day. The ensuing election resulted in a hung parliament, but after three weeks of negotiations, Gillard won the majority of cross bench support to form a minority government.

Gillard’s Government established the NDIS, education funding reform, tobacco plain packaging, a Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, and a national apology for forced adoptions. She ‘excelled in foreign policy and strengthened relations with the USA, China and India’.7 Her impassioned 2012 speech on sexism and misogyny remains an iconic moment in Australia’s parliamentary history and received worldwide attention.8

As Prime Minister, Gillard faced enduring leadership speculation and acute party room division. On 13 June 2013, Rudd called for a leadership spill and won 57 votes to 45. Gillard did not contest the next election. She observed:

‘there are precious few prime ministers who go out of office on their own terms …
[t]he important thing is not the fall; the important thing is how you land’. 9

After leaving Parliament, Gillard took on roles advocating for education and women in leadership. She published her memoir, My Story, in 2014.10 She currently serves as chair of several organisations including Beyond Blue and the Global Institute for Women’s Leadership.11 In 2017, she was made an AC. Her partner is Tim Mathieson.12

Vincent Fantauzzo (b. 1977)
Vincent Fantauzzo migrated to Australia from England as a child, his family settling in the northern suburbs of Melbourne. Encouraged to follow his passion for painting, he studied Fine Art at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, attaining a Bachelor of Fine Art (Painting) and Master of Fine Art. Fantauzzo has collaborated with filmmakers, creatives, prestige brands and charitable organisations and he has produced many portraits of notable figures, including the late actor Heath Ledger, actors Asher Keddie and David Wenham, and car-racing legend Jackie Stewart. In 2011, he was awarded the Doug Moran National Portrait Prize for his depiction of filmmaker Baz Luhrmann and, in the same year, won the Archibald Packing Room Prize for his portrait of chef Matt Moran. Four-time winner of the Archibald Prize People’s Choice award, Fantauzzo has exhibited nationally and internationally and is a consistent finalist in local art competitions.13

Julia Eileen Gillard
by Vincent Fantauzzo

Oil on canvas
120.3 x 145.2

Historic Memorials Collection,
Parliament House Art Collection

1. Australian Prime Ministers: Julia Gillard’, Museum of Australian Democracy. Information in this biography has also been taken from the following: ‘Australia’s prime ministers: Julia Gillard’, National Archives of Australia; ‘Prime Ministers of Australia: Julia Gillard’, National Museum of Australia; ‘Julia Gillard’, Brookings Institute. See also ‘Julia Eileen Gillard’ in Historic Memorials Collection Portraits: Parliamentary ‘Firsts’, Parliamentary Library, Parliament of Australia, Canberra, 2021. Websites accessed 30 October 2021.
2. The 21 September 1940 election saw the UAP–Country Party coalition form a minority government. See N Horne, ‘Hung parliaments and minority governments’, Background Note, Parliamentary Library, Canberra, 23 December 2010, pp. 10–11, accessed 13 October 2021.
3. ‘Emily’s List Australia: about us’, Emily’s List Australia, accessed 27 September 2021.
4. ‘Julia Gillard: before office’, National Archives of Australia, accessed 27 September 2021.
5. Parliamentary Library, ‘Biography for Gillard, the Hon. Julia Eileen’, Parliamentary Handbook Online, accessed 14 October 2021.
6. ‘Gillard becomes first woman in top job’, ABC News, 11 December 2007, accessed 27 September 2021.
7. T Bramston, ‘Ex-PMs could learn a thing or two from Gillard’, The Australian, 21 February 2020.
8. S Harmon and A Siddeek, “It took on a life of its own”: the story behind Julia Gillard’s misogyny speech’, The Guardian Australia, 7 February 2020; B Williams, ‘How Julia Gillard forever changed Australian politics – especially for women’, The Conversation, 2 June 2020. Websites accessed 27 September 2021.
9. Bramston op. cit.
10. ‘Julia Gillard: Julia’s books’, Julia Gillard website, accessed 14 October 2021.
11. ‘Julia Gillard: Julia’s current work’, Julia Gillard website, accessed 14 October 2021.
12. ‘Julia Gillard’s partner: Tim Mathieson’, National Archives of Australia, accessed 27 September 2021.
13. Information in this biography has been taken from: ‘Winner: People’s Choice 2014: Vincent Fantauzzo’, Art Gallery of NSW; V Gorman and S Chenery, ‘Vincent Fantauzzo: Drawing a life in pictures’, Australian Story, ABC. Websites accessed 25 March 2021.

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