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Julia Gillard

Australia's First Woman Prime Minister

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Julia Gillard

Julia Gillard

© Lisa Maree Williams / Getty Images

Australian Labor Party Member of Parliament Julia Gillard, Deputy Prime Minister of Australia from December 3, 2007, to June 24, 2010, became Australia's first woman Prime Minister after a caucus meeting which installed her as party leader.

She succeeded Kevin Rudd who, as then leader of the Australian Labor Party, won the 2007 Australian federal election and became Prime Minister in December 2007.

At the parliamentary Labor Party caucus meeting held on June 24, the positions of Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister had been declared vacant and Gillard was elected unopposed.

Within two months of her Prime Ministership, Julia Gillard called for a federal election on August 21.

New election

The final result of the August 21, 2010, election gave Prime Minister Gillard's Australian Labor Party 72 seats and the Liberal-National Party Coalition headed by Tony Abbott 73 seats. Four seats went to Independents and one to a member of the Greens Party.

With 76 seats needed to be won by a political party in order to form government, three Independents and the one elected Greens candidate eventually threw their support behind the Labor Party, giving them a majority of 76 seats against 74 for the Liberal National Party and one Independent.

This was enough to ensure that Prime Minister Gillard would retain her position.

On September 7, 2010, the day she was assured of adequate support, the Prime Minister informed Australian Governor-General Quentin Bryce that she had the numbers to form a minority government.

Wales-born Parliamentarian

Julia Gillard has been a member of the House of Representatives, representing the federal electorate of Lalor in Victoria, since the 1998 federal election.

Gillard was born in Wales in 1961. She migrated to Australia in 1966 with her family and settled in Adelaide. She later moved to Melbourne where she graduated from the University of Melbourne with arts and law degrees.

She became a member of the Shadow Cabinet in 2001.

After Labor won in 2007, she became Deputy Prime Minister of Australia, the first female and first foreign-born deputy prime minister and the highest-ranked Australian politician.

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