A thoughtful, incredibly in-depth profile of our ex-Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, has been published on The Monthly, after a rare opportunity was granted for journalist Chloe Hooper to trail Julia Gillard‘s tour and be let behind closed doors between March and June this year.
Julia Gillard Exposed With Rare, In Depth Profile Preceding The Spill
Detailed in the long form read is a deeply telling portrait of Julia Gillard: Prime Minister who was adored by her colleagues (“bloody lovely“) and those who knew her; scathed brutally by those who didn’t have the opportunity. Perhaps that is the sole, deafening fact that created the grandiose theme in Gillard’s leadership: a rancid, Lynchian undercurrent that reeked of unsolicited judgement and snarkiness for three tumultuous years.
Detailed in the profile of Julia Gillard is the innanity of “sandwich gate” that distracted headlines from politics and saw the media descend in to a hysterical mess; Gillard’s clouded veneer, as a woman who was loved by her employees and knitted babies clothes. We learn:
On being the first female Prime Minister, and inspiring more to come: “I’m very confident I’ll live to see a time when it’s so routine for a woman to be prime minister that no one bothers to count any more.”
On her determinism: “I think an unkind person would say I’m bloody stubborn. A kind person would say I ‘m so fixed on the thing I want to do an see done, I’m not getting daunted by the rest of it.”
On the sandwich-throwing schoolboy’s suspension, despite missing his target: “So the suspension’s for being a bad throw.”
On dealing with a misogynistic atmosphere from day one: “So I came into parliament in 1998, the same time Kevin Rudd did … and you’d go to these women things and they would say, ‘Oh, how are you going? It must be so hard, it must be so difficult.’ And I used to think to myself, is anybody tonight saying that to Kevin Rudd or Craig Emerson or David Cox? Or are they actually saying to them, ‘It’s fantastic you’re in parliament now, you must be aspiring to be a shadow minister? And what’s your area of interest? And how do you think you’ll go about doing that? And can I help you do that?”
On her partner, Tim Mathieson: “I get the benefit of company that’s about me as a person.”
On being fed up by sexist comments from Tony Abbott and Peter Slipper: ‘For fuck’s sake, after everything I’ve listened to, I have to listen to this? That you’re somehow on a bandwagon to crusade about sexism? Oh, God, give me strength!’
Sadly, On The Road With Julia Gillard almost reads like an obituary. It files and tucks candid moments of our first female PM: promoting her candour, warmth and generosity in leaps and bounds, in a way that seems to be eternally poised in the past tense. In the dazed afterglow of the spill, so many have flustered and rushed to express their admiration for Gillard, fresh off the guillotine. Where was this support, this decent respect, before the knife struck?
You can read On The Road With Julia Gillard in its entirety here.