Keynote-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.