Thursday, June 24, 2010

How will Julia Gillard appeal to Christian voters?

Julie Gillard's rise today to Prime Minister came just a few days too late for the thousands of Christians who watched Kevin Rudd and Tony Abbott perform in the Make it Count webcast on Monday night.

Now it is back to the drawing board for Christian voters with a new Labor leader and Christian leaders, churches and commentators will be anxious to see where Gillard stands on various issues of importance to the Christian community.

No doubt many will welcome the fact that a woman has finally taken the role of Prime Minister, but once that historic moment recedes, her policies and values will be under intense scrutiny.

So what do we know about Julia Gillard? First some salient points, and then some background:
  • Has long been associated with the left of the Labor party
  • Early in her career seemed not well disposed to private schools but more recently has said the public-private school division is an 'out-dated' cultural issue.
  • Has appeared to allow pragmatism to move her from a socialist to more conservative position, although some commentators are asking can a 'leopard change its spots'.
  • There is little written about her personal beliefs but she has not made any clear declaration of Christian faith as have Kevin Rudd and Tony Abbott.
  • She has been the minister responsible for the school chaplaincy and has refused to guarantee funding past next year.
Miss Gillard has since 1998 been the Member of Lalor, a safe Labor seat in Melbourne's outer south-west suburbs. Since December 3, 2007 she has been the Deputy Prime Minister of Australia, the first woman and the first foreign-born person to hold this position.

Historically attached to the left faction of the ALP, Miss Gillard has also been Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations; Minister for Education; and Minister for Social Inclusion.

As Minister for Education, Gillard is responsible for the government's controversial 'Building Australia's Education Revolution' program.

Julia Eileen Gillard was born in Wales on September 29, 1961 and migrated to Australia with her family in 1966, settling in Adelaide. She attended Unley High School, graduating in 1978; then on to the University of Adelaide with a later move to Melbourne. In 1986 she graduated from the University of Melbourne with arts and law degrees and, the following year, joined the law firm Slater & Gordon at Werribee, working in the area of industrial law.In 1990 she was admitted as one of their first female partners.

In 1983, Gillard became the second woman to lead the Australian Union of Students and she was also formerly the secretary of the left-wing organisation, Socialist Forum. From 1996 to 1998, Gillard served as Chief-of-Staff to Victorian Opposition Leader, John Brumby.

Gillard's partner is Tim Mathieson, a hairdresser. She does not have any children. According to Wikipedia, Gillard is notable both at home and in overseas nations such as the United States for her broad Australian accent.


  1. I can't believe Labour has dumped Rudd, how do they think it will go down with the electorate! Gillard was involved in the same policy making team as Rudd, the Gang of Four, how is she better!

  2. "She has been the minister responsible for the school chaplaincy and has refused to guarantee funding past next year."

    I am of the opinion that this would be quite a good thing for Australia. Religion has no place in politics, and Christians should be concerned about what is best for all Australians, not just those who subscribe to one particular religion.

  3. @Luke - "Gang of Four" - is this a throw back to the Cultural Revolution?!