a curious Yankee in Europe's court

blog about living in Europe, and Italy

Will Aussies choose to keep their first woman Prime Minister?

Posted on the July 20th, 2010

In about a month from now, on August 21, Australia’s first ever woman Prime Minister Julia Gillard will find out if the voters of the country also want her in the government’s top spot.

According to a Guardian Weekly story last week, Gillard’s Labor Party has pulled ahead  in the national polls (“Julia Gillard calls snap Australian election” by Peter Beaumont, July 18, 2010):

The country’s first female prime minister, Welsh-born Gillard was appointed by the ruling Labor party as the government faced what seemed like certain electoral defeat, and a party coup saw Kevin Rudd ousted. Since then, however, Gillard has been credited with rebuilding support for her party, to an extent that Labor is narrowly ahead in the opinion polls.

Below is a video of Gillard last Saturday announcing her decision to call for the August election:

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Some news to cheer (loudly): Julia Gillard

Posted on the June 24th, 2010

As of today, Australia has its first ever woman prime minister, Julia Gillard. Given the dismal statistics (here and here) on women in political leadership worldwide, it’s news that calls for popping the cork on a bottle of spumante, or maybe even two.

And from what I can tell, when the unexpected opportunity arose, Gillard simply had the courage and smarts to step forward and ask for the top job. See Guardian article today (“Julia Gillard becomes Australia’s first female prime minister” June 24, 2010).

Excerpt from the Guardian:

The 48-year-old who came under attack in 1998 when she entered parliament for being single and childless, said it was also an important milestone for Australian women.

“I think if there’s one girl who looks at the TV screen over the next few days and says ‘Gee, I might like to do that in the future’, well that’s a good thing,” Gillard told reporters.

And from Wikipedia:

In a 2007 interview, Gillard stated: “I used to think I wanted to be a school teacher. There was an English teacher at Mitcham Primary [in Adelaide], who was a real stickler for standards and grammar and punctuation but who was also very kindly. I thought teachers were good; I thought it would be a rewarding job, seeing the eyes of young people light up with new information.

I got talked out of that ambition for good or for ill by a school friend’s mother, who said, ‘No, you’re really good at arguing and debating, you should try law.’ If I hadn’t been pre-selected for the seat of Labor and run successfully in the 1998 election, I’d probably still be somewhere in and around the law; public sector law perhaps. Maybe giving tutorials, trying to pound law into other people’s heads.

And from AlJazeeraEnglish:

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Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu: Australia’s new star

Posted on the April 25th, 2008

Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu’s recently-released, first solo album “Gurrumul” has shot to the top of mainstream music charts in Australia. The 37-year-old musician, who was born blind, is now outselling major stars such as Mariah Carey, according to the International Herald Tribune (“Aboriginal musician astonishes Australian audiences” by Tim Johnston, April 22, 2008).

This video featuring Yunupingu is from the Italian newspaper La Repubblica (Italian text, in translation, paraphrased):

Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu sings in the language of his native Aboriginal tribe, Yolngu, and recounts the difficulties of his people.

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