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"I was prime minister for three years and three days. Three years and three days of resilience. Three years and three days of changing the nation. Three years and three days for you to judge".
On Wednesday 23 June 2010, with the government in turmoil, Julia Gillard asked Prime Minister Kevin Rudd for a leadership ballot. The next day, Julia Gillard became Australia's 27th prime minister, and our first female leader.
Australia was alive to the historic possibilities. Here was a new approach for a new time. It was to last three extraordinary years. This is Julia Gillard's chronicle of that turbulent time, a strikingly candid self-portrait of a political leader seeking to realise her ideals.
It is her story of what it was like - in the face of government in-fighting and often hostile media - to manage a hung parliament, build a diverse and robust economy, create an equitable and world-class education system, ensure a dignified future for Australians with disabilities, all while attending to our international obligations and building strategic alliances for our future.
This is a politician driven by a sense of purpose - from campus days with the Australian Union of Students, to a career in the law, to her often gritty, occasionally glittering rise up the ranks of the Australian Labor Party.
Refreshingly honest, peppered with a wry humour and personal insights, Julia Gillard does not shy away from her mistakes, admitting freely to errors, misjudgements, and policy failures as well as detailing her political successes.
Here is an account of what was hidden behind the resilience and dignified courage Gillard showed as prime minister, her view of the vicious hate campaigns directed against her, and a reflection on what it means - and what it takes - to be a woman leader in contemporary politics.
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Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me
A few caveats, I am not a fan of exPM Julia Gillard intact I probably suffered under her and exPM Kevin Rudds leadership. I don't believe in Labor and its policies. I am not a one eyed Liberal voter. Okay that said now for the book.
First, thank goodness she didn't read it. Her voice isn't the best for narration although she does make a few appearances. Second, she does not answer the questions I think everybody wants. She gives us too much detail on areas she feels passionate about and skims over areas that probably are important. She does admit to making mistakes but really goes at it with a hatchet on Tony Abbot and the Liberal/National Party. She really does put the blame on all that went wrong on everybody else and takes little responsibility. The book does come across like the song "Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me" written by Elton John and Bernie Taupin. The book is too long.
Now on the positive. She gets right into gaining the leadership. The book is based on subjects or topics rather than chronology. She gives credit where it is due although she does do this with a 'back handed' compliment to the Liberal/Nationals and especially exPM John Howard. Her support staff; she is very supportive of and has a very human side to relationships with her staff, colleagues and family & friends. She is a good Labor girl. She is intrepid, stalwart and loyal to purpose and process. Personally I think she would of made an excellent primary school principal.
The book however isn't worth listening to. She does not add anything to the political debate, there is no real insight to what happen in those silly years of the Rudd/Gillard years and like most politicians, it comes across as I was right and everybody else was stupid. Although now that the dust has settled, I think if I met this lady, I could have a pleasant conversation with her, just not on the subject of this book. It would be too one sided.
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- Daniel Skehan
What did you love best about My Story?
A reflection on three years and three days of imperfect perfection.
Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?
The author's reflection on Beasley's leadership. That, and the chapter 'the curious question of gender'
What a great insight into the complex workings of economics, politics, gender inequity and media.