Image635476996184418890On the 24th September I celebrated my 50th birthday (yeay half a century…hmm…YEAY!) and my best friend gave me a terrific gift. Being a HUGE fan of our former Prime Minister Julia Gillard – the first female Prime Minister of Australia – I was overjoyed to learn I was going to be going to a Q&A and book signing after her book launch.

Julia has written a 600 page memoir called “My Story” –  You can get the kindle version here and all good bookstores which was released on the weekend.

I was beyond rapt to learn I was going to be going to the Q&A and I looked forward to it like a kid on Christmas morning.

Why Is It So? (I just had a flashback to my youth and the voice of Professor Julius Sumner Miller…heh)

Let’s start with the fact this woman is a trailblazer. The first female Prime Minister of Australia (and I fear the last for a very very long time). Whatever you think of her politics, one thing has to be acknowledged: she was treated in such a horrible, disrespectful way by the media, by the back stabbing former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and some in her own party. Let’s not even go into that disgusting radio shock jock who told his listeners that Julia should be put into a chaff bag and thrown out to sea or when her father died, that Mr Gillard would be ASHAMED of his daughter. What a thoroughly disgusting human being.

Julia never got any fresh air to really showcase who she was. In the turmoil created by the right wing media – her government was in disarray. Funny that. She managed to pass three budgets, pass 561 bills through a hung parliament. For example her government got the NDIS (disability funding) off the ground, got education reforms started and more. Click here to list of achievements and the not so good stuff that happened. Julia is the first to admit she made mistakes.

For a a government in disarray she sure did some extraordinary things. When she wasn’t battling a hostile media, she was dealing with a backstabbing Kevin Rudd and Tony “Suppository of all Wisdom” Abbott. (No that is not a typo….follow the link)

It was personal (for example…Germaine Greer, that allegedly feminist icon, critiqued Julia’s dress sense and told her she had a big arse…yeah nice one Ms Greer. Pathetic). It was vicious, it was sexist, it was pathetic and vile.

Above all the BS that was thrown at Julia, she stood tall. She didn’t flinch, she didn’t back down, she didn’t cower. She didn’t cry. She was a true warrior. Did she make mistakes? Yes she did but we all do. Was she judged harsher than a male? I think she was and it was disgusting to watch. As a woman, I felt the society that I lived in, went beyond genuine criticism of the woman’s policies to gender assassination. I was most surprised with all the hatred whipped up by the hatemongers on the right, that some lunatic didn’t take a gun and shoot her. I fully expected something to happen.

So last night, for me, was one of those special moments I’ll remember forever. I’m not a big fan of politicians and nor would I go and hear one speak (on a school night no less) BUT this was Julia Gillard. Tired from working all day? NAHHHHHHHHH!

Her smile on coming out to seeing a sell out crowd was amazing to see. There was a lot of love in the theatre – A LOT of love. I found her to be engaging, honest, extremely funny and intelligent. Do I agree with everything she says? No (the gay marriage issue for one) but I don’t have to agree with her all the time.

I wished she was still our Prime Minister but she is doing great work with being the chair of Global Partnership for Education whose goal is to galvanize and coordinate a global effort to deliver a good quality education to all girls and boys, prioritizing the poorest and most vulnerable.

Thank you Julia for an EXCELLENT night and Happy Birthday! (Julia is 53 or as she said last night, she’s not counting between decades..good policy). We gave her a rousing birthday greeting and a standing ovation (Aussies don’t, as a general rule, give standing ovations – we are very selective about who we stand up for).

Now you may not have seen the following video but it’s worth repeating. I don’t usually jump up from my chair, punch the air and roar in approval (VERY few times that has happened and it usually revolves around Australia winning the Ashes from the English in Cricket).

This is Julia’s famous misogyny speech in Parliament directed at the Opposition leader Tony Abbott (I’m being really good and not writing what I really think of our current Prime Minister

Watch, stand up and applaud – this is how you deal with misogynistic trolls and thugs.