Julia Eileen Gillard was born on 29 September 1961 in Barry, Vale of Glamorgan, Wales, UK. She migrated with her family to Adelaide, Australia in 1966, attending Mitcham Demonstration School and Unley High School. In 1982 Gillard moved to Melbourne, Australia. She graduated from the University of Melbourne with Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Laws degrees in 1986. In 1987, Gillard joined the law firm Slater & Gordon working in industrial law, before entering politics.
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Gillard was elected as Member for Lalor, a safe Labor seat near Melbourne, in the House of Representatives at the 1998 election, replacing Barry Jones, who had retired. She made her first speech to the house on 11 November 1998. After Labor’s defeat at the 2001 election, Gillard was elected to the shadow cabinet, with the portfolio of population and immigration. In February 2003, she was given the additional portfolios of reconciliation and Indigenous affairs. Gillard was promoted to the position of Shadow Health Minister in July 2003.
The Labor Party won the 2007 federal election and, on 3 December 2007, Gillard was sworn in as the first female Deputy Prime Minister of Australia. She was also given responsibility for a so-called “super ministry”, the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations. She had three distinct portfolios: Minister for Education; Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations; and Minister for Social Inclusion.
On 23 June 2010, after meetings throughout the evening between Gillard and Prime Minister Kevin Rudd. Rudd addressed the waiting media at 10:30 pm that morning and announced that Gillard had asked him to hold a leadership ballot in the 115-member caucus the following day to determine the leadership of the Labor Party and hence the prime ministership of Australia. Rudd initially said he would challenge Gillard at the caucus. However, it soon became apparent that he didn’t have enough support to fend off Gillard’s challenge. Hours before the vote, he stood aside as leader and ended his candidacy, leaving Gillard to take the leadership unopposed. Shortly afterward, Gillard was sworn in as the 27th Prime Minister of Australia.