Wednesday 13 December 2017

Elaine Byrne: Julia's dignity prevailed amid assault of sexism

Julia Gillard was hit by a double whammy of misogyny and 'Tall Poppy Syndrome'

Elaine Byrne

Julia Gillard is best described as marmite – people intensely love or despise her in equal measure. She represents what makes Australia such a fantastic country of opportunity. Her family emigrated from the Welsh mining Vale of Glamorgan when she was just five years old to the southern Australian city of Adelaide. Like the thousands of Irish in the Sixties, her family travelled on the Ten Pound visa.

That an emigrant would rise to become the nation's first female prime minister is not considered that extraordinary. Twenty-five per cent of Australian residents are born outside the country and many more are first or second generation emigrants.

What was extraordinary was the blatant offensive sexism that she had to endure during the three years of her premiership.

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