Hon Julia Gillard AC

Hon Julia Gillard AC

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Former Prime Minister of Australia

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Synopsis

As Prime Minister of Australia, Julia revamped education at every level, expanded access to healthcare across all ages and oversaw major investment into telecoms and broadband infrastructure. She is now Chair of the Wellcome Trust, the world’s second largest charitable funder of medical research into improving human health. Julia draws on her time in office to cover lessons on leadership, diplomacy, gender equality and mental health, while also highlighting the Trust’s work in combating climate change and preventing the spread of infectious disease.

Biography

The first female Prime Minister of Australia, Julia Gillard led the world’s 12th largest economy out of the financial crisis and through a period of significant reform. She is now the Chair of the Wellcome Trust, one of the world’s largest charitable funders of medical research and other activity to improve human health, and the Chair of Global Institute for Women’s Leadership at King’s College London.

Shortly after being elected to parliament, Julia joined the shadow cabinet at the office for Population and Immigration and was soon after appointed Deputy Leader of the Opposition. The following general election saw her become the first female Deputy Prime Minister of Australia. She went on to deliver several impassioned speeches on gender equality in parliamentary question time which saw her described as "the best parliamentary performer on the Labor side”. Julia later served as Minister for Education, overseeing the introduction of landmark programmes for literacy and numeracy, and in the process fostering a career-long passion for education.

Julia subsequently became Australia’s first female Prime Minister. Her stewardship of government was characterised by sweeping change: “I know reform is never easy. But I know reform is right.” She revamped Australian education at every level, founded an emissions trading scheme, expanded access to healthcare across all ages and oversaw major investment into telecoms and broadband infrastructure. On the world stage, she strengthened ties with the USA, China, Japan and India, while under her leadership Australia was elected to serve on the United Nations Security Council. She has since been credited with successfully steering Australia through the worst effects of the global economic crash while also bolstering economic ties with Asia. 

In presentations Julia assesses the geopolitical climate and covers international leadership, economics, diplomacy and engagement. In her book Women and Leadership, she considers models of female leadership, incorporating first-hand interviews from respected figures including Jacinda Adern and Hilary Clinton alongside her own testimony. She is frank about her personal challenges with mental health and draws on her work with several charities to talk about psychological wellbeing at work. She also touches on the work of the Wellcome Trust in connection with combating climate change and preventing the spread of infectious disease.

Since retiring from public office, Julia has been a Patron of Camfed, the Campaign for Female Education.In addition to Women and Leadership, she has also published a memoir of her life in office, My Story.

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