Saturday, June 26, 2010
Australia elects first woman Prime Minister
Julia Gillard, at her home in Altona, Australia
Australia has its first woman Prime Minister leading the country - 48yr old Julia Gillard. She won a quick vote in her own party over the former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, partly because of a dispute over Australian mining policy, coal and its contribution to carbon emissions. ["Australia is the world's top coal exporter and among the highest per-capita emitters of planet-warming carbon dioxide, with coal used to generate about 80 percent of electricity." from an article written about her, a mix of probable fact and definitely some opinion...] She is seen as someone who can work with the mining industry while at the same time, introduce policies that reduce the amount of coal being mined.
So who is Julia beyond her penchant for renewable energy and a warmer personality than that of her predecessor, Kevin Rudd? First of all, she was born in Wales, Great Britain. She suffered from bronchopneumonia as a child, so her parents were advised it would aid her recovery to live in a warmer climate. The family chose to migrate to Australia in 1966, settling in Adelaide. She wanted to be a school teacher, but people talked her into law because "she loved debating." Gillard's partner since 2006 is Tim Mathieson. She has never married and has had no children. Gillard is a "non-practising Baptist" and "not religious". She lives in the south western Melbourne suburb of Altona and is a very public supporter of the Western Bulldogs Australian football club. (See Wikipedia ...)
Gillard in her opening interview said,
"I am truly honoured to lead this country which I love.
I am utterly committed to the service of our people.
I grew up in the great state of South Australia. I grew up in a home of hardworking parents. They taught me the value of hard work. They taught me the value of respect. They taught me the value of doing your bit for the community.
And it is these values that will guide me as Australia's Prime Minister.
I believe in a Government that rewards those who work the hardest, not those who complain the loudest.
I believe in a Government that rewards those who, day in and day out, work in our factories and on our farms, in our mines and in our mills, in our classrooms and in our hospitals, that rewards that hard work, decency and effort.
The people who play by the rules, set their alarms early, get their kids off to school, stand by their neighbours and love their country.
And I also believe that 'leadership' is about the authority that grows from mutual respect shared by colleagues, from team work and from hard work, team work and spirit.
So, just as we all can hope for Kyrgystan and local leaders, I wish Julia well in her leadership role.