JULIA Gillard's ascension was hailed as a new chapter for Australia, a rejection of tired old ways and a brave new world in which a woman – an unmarried, childless Welsh-born woman at that – could run the country.
Ms Gillard, then a feisty and promising deputy, came to power through the unceremonious and unprecedented dumping of Kevin Rudd in a party room coup in 2010.
She never dragged her premiership out of this back-stabbing quagmire or overcame a grave problem of image and authenticity. Her government's record wasn't bad, pushing through education, disability and climate change reforms and deftly keeping Australia's economy ticking over.
There was no doubt she was tough as nails amid startling levels of vitriol and misogyny.
Against this backdrop, she made a coruscating attack in parliament on Tony Abbott, the opposition leader. Video of the speech transformed her into a pin-up for feminists around the world but had a negligible effect at home.
From the moment she took his job, it seems Mr Rudd was bent on wrestling it back. Now, given a choice between him and Mr Abbott, Australia might soon wonder if Julia Gillard wasn't so bad after all. (© Daily Telegraph, London)