The Theatrical Journalist

Improv, Comedy, Women, Melbourne and everything in between.

Dear Julia Gillard, our first female PM

What I am absolutely confident of is it will be easier for the next woman, and the woman after that, and the woman after that… and I’m proud of that,” Prime Minister Julia Gillard, June 26th 2013

Gillard good

Dear Ms Gillard,

I am writing this letter to thank you for your last three years as Australia’s first female Prime Minister. I apologise on behalf of a nation that apparently wasn’t ready for a woman who could handle the responsibilities of leading our lucky country. As a journalism student, I apologise on behalf of a mainstream media news-cycle that was more interested in leadership speculation of our current government rather than unearthing the non-existent policies from the opposition.
Ms Gillard, you proved to Australia that unlike most of our Prime Ministers, you can take a metaphorical punch. I know this, and deep down, Australia knows this. You have been subjected to grotesque amounts of unnecessary vitriol, the kind that would send the opposition leader, previous Prime Ministers, and I into an emotional breakdown – but you didn’t waver, surrender, or stoop to the level of those hurling abuse at you.
I find it such a shame that your effort to pass Gonski through the Senate went unnoticed today, on June 26th. Your implementation of the Carbon Tax, the National Disability Scheme, and the Royal Commission into institutional responses to child sexual abuse (amongst other achievements) show your compassion and determination to make a change as Prime Minister.

Not only did you change policies, you also changed societal perceptions of gender, bringing to the surface that change is still needed for future females and other minorities in Parliament.

As you said in your resignation speech, your efforts have made it easier for the next female Prime Minister to lead an effective government, and it will continue to get easier as the idea of women in Parliament becomes less novel.

I’ll never forget the speech that made my ears prick up, the moment I realised you were more than a lawyer-turned-politician, the day I realised you were a true leader when you called out Tony Abbott (and, in turn, patriarchy in general) for the blatant sexism that – for some deranged reason – still pervades throughout politics, media, and society. This speech made international headlines. I’m sure you and our Nation’s history will remember it well:

Thank you for your tireless hard work in Australian government. Every time you were accused of playing the “gender card”, I was offended for you. You proved to be the toughest Prime Minister our country has ever had, and I was so proud of you in your resignation speech where you showed humility, grace, and optimism.

Thank you for inspiring me and other like-minded women and men of all different races and upbringings to fight the prejudices that threaten to bring us down.

Thank you, most of all, for being a professional.

(and not wearing lycra)

Yours faithfully,

Hayley Tantau

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