"Ten Pound Pom" Becomes Australian Prime Minister

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM–(Marketwire – July 2, 2010) – Julia Gillard has replaced Prime Minister Kevin Rudd as leader of the Australian Labour Party, becoming the country’s first female Prime Minister and showing that there are no barriers to those who move to Australia. She has completed her transformation from “Ten Pound Pom” to PM. 

Ms Gillard’s chronic pneumonia at the age of five led her parents to leave Barry in South Wales for the warmer Australian climate. In the year that England won the World Cup, they paid the ten pound boat fare needed for Australia immigration and settled in the southern city of Adelaide. The young Ms Gillard excelled at school, and she went on to study arts and law at Adelaide University where she became prominent in campus politics.

After a distinguished legal career working in industrial relations, Julia Gillard became an MP in 1998, rising to become Shadow Health Minister and then deputy to the newly-elected Prime Minister Rudd in 2007.

When Kevin Rudd lost the confidence of senior power brokers after failing to improve the government’s poll rating, it fell to Ms Gillard to ask him to step down, leading to her appointment as Prime Minister in his place. She had been a key member of Mr Rudd’s “gang of four” but has sought to distance herself from unpopular measures such as the Australia immigration policy which failed to solve the problem of hundreds of illegal immigrants hoping to move to Australia.

Australian elections are due before December, so Julia Gillard does not have much time to make her mark. The question remains as to whether this “Ten Pound Pom” miner’s daughter from Wales will be able to lead her party to victory in the coming elections. It also shows that there is no position in Australia that is closed to those who move to Australia, even if they are driven there by a need to get away from the damp atmosphere of South Wales.

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