Last night, Julia Gillard received a standing ovation from the 2,500 Australians who headed to the Concert Hall at the Opera House to hear the former Prime Minister in conversation with Anne Summers. Throughout the 90 minute conversation, which marked Gillard’s first public appearance since losing the prime ministership to Kevin Rudd in June, Twitter was aflurry with positive feedback for the unmasked Julia Gillard who was able to speak freely without the constraints and obligations of a title.
Watch the complete interview below, and here are some highlights from the candid chat during which Gillard answered many of the burning questions Australians have had and addressed the sexism she experience during her time as Australia’s first ever female prime minster.
On Tony Abbott as Prime Minister, “It’s a big step from criticising what you think is wrong to working out and implementing what you think is right. On current indications it seems Abbott is intending on taking that step slowly. And for all of us, I think that might well be a good thing.”
On the sexist treatment she experienced, “I hope that we work out way to a better place for women in politics. If there was a woman standing before me, and with a crystal ball I could see that everything that had happened to me was going to happen to her, I would still say do it. The benefits are far superior to the burdens.”
“We’ve got to be able to say strongly to women and girls, “You’ve got a right to an environment that treats you with respect, treats you as an equal and raising your voice about that isn’t starting a war, it isn’t playing the victim, it’s just asking for what simply is right.”
“…it’s kind of depressing that we’re not [beyond sexist thinking], but at least we know exactly where the balance of it is now and what more remains to be done for women to be truly equal.”
“We need to look at how much of the treatment is about gender and how much is about rigours of leadership. Being PM isn’t an easy job — not for me, not for Abbott, not for the next person — whether you’re a man or a woman. What we have to do is get rid of the extra bit of difficulty about being a woman. I’d like to focus the discussion on that.”
On Hilary Clinton potentially running for President in 2016, “Wouldn’t it be fantastic to follow the first African American president with the first woman president?”
On her final speech as Prime Minister, ” …when I was getting myself together to go out and give my final speech as Prime Minister, I certainly did say to myself that I wouldn’t give those people the satisfaction of seeing me shed a tear – I wouldn’t do that.”
Julia Gillard in conversation with Anne Summers video credit: ABC Big Ideas