Gillard Government
Gillard Government
The Gillard Government refers to the incumbent federal executive government of Australia led by the Prime Minister of Australia, Julia Gillard, of the Australian Labor Party. The Gillard government commenced at 1 pm on 24 June 2010 when she was sworn in as Prime Minister by the Governor-General of Australia, Quentin Bryce.
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  • 2014
    Age 52
    Gillard revamped the health reform package, by providing the states with $16.4 billion from July 2014 to 2020.
    More Details Hide Details It scrapped a major element of the previous package which would reduce 60 per cent of the states recurrent health costs to 50 per cent and removed the former Rudd Government plans to fund 60 per cent of new hospital capital costs. The deal was agreed on by all state premiers and chief ministers in February 2011. In March 2012, Labor secured the support of the Australian Greens and Independent Rob Oakeshott to legislate for the introduction of a means test for the private health insurance rebate subsidy. The move was predicted to inject $746.3 million towards the government's planned budget surplus. It was criticised by health insurers as likely to encourage privately insured members to return to the public health system. Prior to the election of the Rudd Government, the Labor Party had pledged not to adjust the rebate. Plain cigarette packaging laws, introduced by Health Minister Nicola Roxon, which would ban the use of company logos, and require all cigarette packets to be a dark green colour, has been introduced into parliament. The Coalition will support the legislation, but plans to vote against the associated changes to trademark laws.
  • 2013
    Age 51
    Upon taking over as Leader of the ALP on 23 June 2010, in one of her first policy undertakings in her first press conference, Gillard said she could "assure" Australians that the Federal Budget would be in surplus in 2013.
    More Details Hide Details The Government continued to promise this outcome until December 2012. Prior to the 2010 Election, and through the first two years of its second term, the Gillard Government gave a series of guarantees that it would return the Federal Budget to surplus for the 2012–13 financial years. Gillard said that there were "no ifs no buts" about this promise and that "failure is not an option here and we won't fail". In his May 2011 Budget, Wayne Swan projected a $22.6 billion deficit and delivered a $44.4 billion deficit. In his 2012–13 Budget Swan announced that the government would deliver a $1.5 billion surplus. The government continued to predict a surplus until the close of 2012, but during the 2012 Christmas break, Treasurer Swan, as acting-prime-minister, announced that the government no longer expected to obtain a surplus, citing falling revenue and global economic conditions.
    On 26 June 2013, Gillard called another leadership spill in the face of mounting speculation about Rudd's intentions.
    More Details Hide Details Rudd won the ballot 57-45, and was sworn in as Prime Minister the following day. Following the result, Gillard announced: In accordance with the pledge I gave earlier today I announce that I will not recontest the federal electorate of Lalor at the forth coming election. I will have time in the coming weeks to be back home in my electorate to say hello and goodbye to the community that I've had the absolute privilege of representing in this Parliament since 1998. In her 2010 election campaign, Gillard pledged to build a "national consensus" for a carbon price by creating a "citizens assembly", to examine "the evidence on climate change, the case for action and the possible consequences of introducing a market-based approach to limiting and reducing carbon emissions", over the course of one year. The assembly was to be selected by an independent authority who would select people from the electoral roll using census data. The plan was never implemented. After the 2010 election, Gillard agreed to form a minority government with the Greens and replaced her "citizens assembly" plan with a climate change panel.
    Thomson pleaded not guilty to 145 charges of theft and deception relating to the alleged misuse of Union funds following the 2013 Federal Election, but was found guilty on multiple counts.
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    The Gillard Government ended when Kevin Rudd won back the leadership of the Australian Labor Party on 26 June 2013 and commenced the Second Rudd Government.
    More Details Hide Details Julia Gillard was the first female Prime Minister of Australia. Before mounting her successful 2010 Challenge to Rudd's leadership, Gillard had served as Deputy Prime Minister in the First Rudd Government. With Treasurer Wayne Swan as her Deputy, Gillard went on to lead her party to the 2010 Australian federal election against the Liberal-National Coalition led by Tony Abbott. The election resulted in a hung Parliament in which Gillard secured the support of the Australian Greens and three independents to form Government. Leadership challenges occurred intermittently between Gillard and Rudd resulting in Labor leadership spills in February 2012, March 2013 and June 2013, the last of which ended her prime ministership. Major policy initiatives of the Gillard Government included, the Clean Energy Bill 2011, asylum seeker policy, Mineral Resource Rent Tax, National Broadband Network, schools funding following the Gonski Review and the National Disability Insurance Scheme.
    On 4 February 2013 Nicola Roxon and Chris Evans resigned.
    More Details Hide Details Chris Bowen and Martin Ferguson resigned their positions.
    On 10 June 2013, the ABC reported that the security of Gillard's position for the September 2013 election was in doubt following the loss of significant support in the Labor caucus.
    More Details Hide Details Furthermore, polling in the preceding week indicated that the party could be left with the low number of 40 seats in Federal Parliament, while one Labor backbencher compared the Labor Party to the Titanic. The ABC reported that "some former staunch supporters" hold the view that Gillard cannot win the election and on 14 June Western Sydney Labor MP John Murphy called on Gillard to step down in favour of Rudd; Cassidy identified Rudd as the only feasible replacement. In response, Gillard dismissed the June leadership discussion as "wasted breath". On 22 June, The Age newspaper called upon Gillard to resign for the good of the Labor Party, the nation and the democratic process, "so that vigorous, policy-driven democratic debate can flourish once again". Editor-in-chief Andrew Holden explained that the newspaper's decision was based on the information that it had received in the preceding week that indicated that Gillard's communication had not resonated with the electorate.
    In a media interview published on 27 May 2013, Gillard stated that she is unwilling to commit to the Australian Labor Party leadership position if her government loses the 2013 election.
    More Details Hide Details Gillard explained: "You would have to talk to me about that in the days afterwards. I don’t spend time thinking about the days beyond." As part of the same interview, Gillard urged Australian voters to provide her with an opportunity to rule with a majority so that compromises with the Greens and independents in both houses would not be necessary, as had been the case for the hung parliament during her term thus far. In June, Gillard returned to the issue of gender politics in an address to an audience of supporters at a "Women for Gillard" function. She conveyed to the group that a government dominated by "men in blue ties" would see "women once again banished from the centre of Australia's political life". Some interpreted the remark as a reference to her leadership rival Rudd, as well as Opposition Leader Tony Abbott, due to the Labor leadership speculation at the time. Gillard also expressed concern over the potential for the abortion issue to be transformed into a "political plaything" of men if she lost office. In the wake of the "blue ties and abortion speech", a Fairfax-Nielsen poll from mid-June 2013 found that Labor's standing among men dropped by 7%, while the party garnered 29% of the overall primary vote.
    In May 2013 the Gillard Government announced that a referendum would be held to recognise local governments in the Australian Constitution and allow the Federal Government to fund them directly.
    More Details Hide Details Similar referendums have been held by Labor governments in 1974 and 1988 but have failed to pass. The referendum was scheduled for the day of the 2013 election, which the Government was planning to hold on 14 September 2013. Prime Minister Gillard initially indicated that she believed the referendum would have bipartisan support, but the Opposition later expressed reservations about the plan.
    Gillard then sought support from the state governments for her National Education Reform Agreement and, as of May 2013, New South Wales is the only government that agreed to sign up—NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell participated in a joint press conference with Gillard to announce the decision on 23 April 2013.
    More Details Hide Details Under the NSW agreement, the state government will contribute A$1.76 billion, while the Federal Government will provide A$3.27 billion, resulting in an extra A$5 billion for NSW schools over a six-year period. To fund the National Education Reform Agreement, the Gillard Government announced funding cuts to higher education that will also affect tertiary students, as another A$520 million will be raised by capping tax deductions for self-education expenses. Tertiary Education Minister Dr Craig Emerson explained after the funding plan was revealed, "Prime Minister Gillard has committed to making every school a great school." At the commencement of May 2013, media outlet News Limited gained access to confidential documents related to the "Better Schools for all Australians" advertising campaign that was designed to promote Gillard's Gonski school reforms. According to News Limited, the campaign will employ free-to-air and pay television, social media sites, magazines, and newspapers, with the allocation of a A$50 million budget to fund the activities.
    In February 2013, Greens leader Christine Milne announced that, while her party would continue to guarantee confidence and supply, the Greens would be ending their alliance with Labor, on the basis that the Government was not taxing "big miners" enough via its MRRT mining tax.
    More Details Hide Details The Government's numbers in the House of Representatives were affected by the resignation of Peter Slipper from the Liberal National Party in order that he could serve as a Labor aligned independent and as Speaker of the House of Representatives; as well as by the eventual suspension of Labor back bencher Craig Thomson from the ALP, who was long the subject of allegations of fraudulent conduct during the Health Services Union expenses affair. Slipper ultimately resigned as Speaker for inappropriate conduct and returned to the cross bench, while police investigations were ongoing in relation to Thomson. Extensive allegations were brought before Fair Work Australia (FWA), concerning mis-use of union funds during his time as a leader of the Labor affiliated Health Services Union (HSU), prior to his entry to Parliament.
    She assured the public that her government would restore the budget to surplus in 2013 and said that it would build community consensus for a price on carbon and open negotiations with the mining industry for a re-vamped mining profits tax.
    More Details Hide Details She praised Kevin Rudd as a man of "remarkable achievement" and Wayne Swan as an outstanding Treasurer who would guide Australia to surplus. In the aftermath of the leadership challenge, Bill Shorten, former trade union leader, and key Parliamentary member of the ALP Right Faction, nominated the government's handling of the insulation program; the sudden announcement of change of policy on the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme; and the way in which they had "introduced the debate" about the Resource Super Profits Tax as the key considerations which had led to a shift in support from Kevin Rudd to Julia Gillard as leader of the party. On 17 July 2010, 23 days after becoming prime minister and after receiving the agreement of the Governor-General Quentin Bryce, Gillard announced the next federal election for 21 August 2010. Gillard began campaigning with a speech using the slogan "moving forward". In the early stages of the campaign, a series of leaks were released by purported Labor Party sources, indicating apparent divisions within Cabinet over the replacement of Kevin Rudd by Gillard. Mid-way through the campaign, Gillard offered journalists a self-assessment of her campaign by saying that she had been paying too much attention to advisers in her strategy team, and she wanted to run a less "stage-managed" campaign, saying: "I think it's time for me to make sure that the real Julia is well and truly on display, so I'm going to step up and take personal charge of what we do in the campaign from this point":
    On 30 January 2013, Gillard announced in a National Press Club speech that she would ask Governor General Quentin Bryce later that day to issue writs to dissolve the House of Representatives on Monday, 12 August in preparation for an election on 14 September 2013.
    More Details Hide Details The eight months of notice provided by Gillard was believed to be the longest period of notice ever given by a Prime Minister in Australian history. However, Gillard would ultimately be deposed as Prime Minister by Kevin Rudd less than five months later, rendering apparently obsolete her Government's commitment to any particular election date. On 2 February, Gillard announced a cabinet reshuffle following the resignations of Attorney General Nicola Roxon and Labor Senate Leader Chris Evans from their respective positions. Mark Dreyfus replaced Roxon as Attorney-General and Minister for Emergency Management, and Stephen Conroy was elected as Labor's Senate leader. During the initial days following Gillard's announcement, suspended Labor MP Craig Thomson was arrested on fraud charges and, in New South Wales, the Independent Commission Against Corruption interviewed Eddie Obeid, a state Labor power broker, over high-level corruption allegations. In February, treasurer Swan confirmed that the Gillard Government's setpiece MRRT Mining Tax was running 90% below predicted returns for its first six months of operation. On 19 February, Greens leader Christine Milne announced that her party would therefore be ending their alliance with Labor, as the Government had neglected an undertaking to tax the "big miners".
  • 2012
    Age 50
    In April 2012, Prime Minister Gillard announced that her government would withdraw all Australian combat forces from Afghanistan by the end of 2013 – one year earlier than most expected.
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    In 2012, the Gillard Government announced that the key measures recommended in the Whitepaper would be delayed or cut amid a $5.5 billion reduction in defence spending.
    More Details Hide Details Treasurer Wayne Swan's 2012 Budget announced a series of cuts in defence spending to assist in the government's plan for restoration of a Federal Budget surplus. The Gillard Government reduced military spending to 1.6% of gross domestic product (the lowest level since the 1930s). The Gillard Government had inherited the Howard and Rudd Governments' commitment to the War in Afghanistan which followed the 2001 September 11 attacks in the United States. In November 2011, the Obama Administration and Gillard Government confirmed a plan to increase the US military presence in northern Australia. Defence Minister Stephen Smith welcomed the first contingent of 200 US Marines to Darwin in April 2012 – with the force projected to grow to 2500. Since coming to office, Gillard has remained adamant towards her position in the Afghanistan War. The Gillard Government believes that withdrawing troops prematurely from Afghanistan, could re-establish the country as a 'safe haven' for terrorists. On 19 October 2010 Prime Minister Gillard addressed Parliament stating her government's commitment to the war, and said "Australia will stand firm in our commitment to our alliance with the United States, the international community understands this, our friends and allies understand this, and our enemies understand this too". On her first day as Prime Minister, Gillard reassured her position towards the war to President Barack Obama of the United States.
    In the lead up to historic November 2012 United Nations vote to promote Palestine's status to that of "non-member observer state", Gillard argued to Cabinet for a "no" vote.
    More Details Hide Details Gillard said a "yes vote" would set back the Mid East peace process. Cabinet ultimately determined to abstain in the vote, which was carried with a large majority at the United Nations, but with the opposition of the United States. Bob Carr said the vote would "encourage peace talks". John Faulkner served as Minister for Defence during the initial months of the Gillard Government and was succeeded by Stephen Smith following the 2010 Election and return of Kevin Rudd to the Foreign Affairs portfolio. The Rudd Government in its 2009 Whitepaper on Defence had outlined a series of avenues for expansion of Australia's independent defence capacity – including a major upgrade of the Royal Australian Navy and Royal Australian Airforce: including the purchase of new submarines, frigates and combat aircraft. The Whitepaper cited the rise of China as representing a potential threat to the future security of the Asia-Pacific.
    Gillard held two press conferences regarding the affair in 2012 to deny any wrongdoing. The Federal Opposition devoted its questions for the final sitting week of Parliament of 2012 to the affair.
    More Details Hide Details The Opposition concluded the week with a call for a judicial inquiry.
    The issue of the AWU affair was raised in Federal Parliament in June 2012 by Labor MP Robert McClelland (a supporter of Gillard's leadership rival, Kevin Rudd, who had been demoted by Gillard).
    More Details Hide Details The affair concerned allegations of embezzlement via a fund established for the "AWU Workplace Reform Association" in the early 1990s by Bruce Wilson and Ralph Blewitt, officials of the Australian Workers' Union (AWU). Prime Minister Gillard had acted for Blewitt and Wilson (her then boyfriend) in setting up the association. Wilson and Blewitt were later accused of misappropriating funds.
    After FWA's findings against Thomson were made public (alleging that he had misused $500,000 in union funds to purchase prostitution services, as well as to aid his political campaign for Parliament and for personal cash withdrawals) the MP addressed Parliament from the crossbenches, and in an emotional speech in May 2012, claimed to be the victim of a conspiracy perpetrated by former colleagues and accused the media and opposition of seeking to "deny him his right to the presumption of innocence" and called Tony Abbott "unfit" to sit in Parliament for having pursued the matter. Fair Work Australia launched civil action against Thompson in October 2012, alleging misuse of funds and breaches of workplace laws.
    More Details Hide Details A Victorian Police investigation was ongoing regarding misuse of funds by Thomson, while a New South Wales Police investigation was investigating broader allegations of fraud involving Thomson and former HSU boss Michael Williamson. Thomson was arrested on 1 February 2013, and charged with 150 counts of fraud. He was found guilty of obtaining financial advantage by using his Health Services Union (HSU) credit card to pay for sexual services and making cash withdrawals on 18 February 2014. In September 2012, the Commonwealth, as First Respondent in the Slipper case, agreed a settlement with Peter Slipper's staffer whereby it would pay $50,000 and improve training in relation to sexual harassment. However, the Attorney General, Nicola Roxon, repeated her claim that Slipper's staffer did not have a case. However, the case lead to release of communications used in evidence including lewd text messages sent by Slipper. The texts included denigatory remarks about female body parts and a female member of the opposition. Gillard's Attorney General, Nicola Roxon, was briefed on the texts in June, but publicly maintained that the sexual harassment claims were vexatious.
    Civil and criminal allegations were made against Speaker Slipper in April 2012 and he announced an intention to step aside pending conclusion of the criminal investigation.
    More Details Hide Details The Gillard Government initially resisted calls from the Opposition and Crossbenchers for Slipper to step aside for the duration of any civil investigations. On 29 April, Gillard announced that she wanted to dispel a "dark cloud" hanging over Parliament and wanted Labor MP Craig Thompson to suspend his membership of the Labor Party and for Speaker Slipper to maintain his suspension from the role of Speaker until all the completion of investigations. Labor MP Anna Burke took up the duties of Speaker. The development left Labor with 70 seats on the floor of the House of Representatives, to the Liberals 71 – with two independents aligned to Liberal-National Coalition; Andrew Wilkie acting as a non-aligned independent; and with Slipper, Thompson, a Green and two further independents remaining Labor aligned. Soon after, West Australian National, Tony Crook announced that he would sitting and voting with the Liberal-National Coalition.
    When FWA handed down a report on the HSU alleging 181 breaches (including 76 criminal breaches) related to the union's finances to the Department of Public Prosecutions (DPP) in early April 2012, the DPP announced that it could not investigate the breaches because FWA had not provided a "Brief of Evidence".
    More Details Hide Details The Australian Council of Trade Unions suspended the HSU. Kathy Jackson said that it appeared that the FWA was trying to protect Thomson and the government. Gillard repeated her confidence in Thompson, while the opposition leader Tony Abbott called on Gillard to expel Thompson from her government and for the Australian Federal Police to raid FWA's offices to be able to use the contents of the report for a brief of evidence.
    Tensions between Rudd and Gillard culminated in the Australian Labor Party leadership spill, 2012. On 23 February 2012, Rudd was replaced as Minister for Foreign Affairs by Craig Emerson (on an acting basis), and then by former NSW Premier and new Senator Bob Carr on 13 March.
    More Details Hide Details Outlining his views on managing Australia's important relationships with China and the United States, Carr said: For the first time in our history the nation with which we have the major economic relationship is a nation with different values and a different form of government from our own. So one can't say there aren't challenges in this relationship, but, ultimately, we don't have to choose America or China. In another early foray into his new portfolio which proved controversial, Carr threatened sanctions against Papua New Guinea in the event of delayed elections there. Gillard toured India in October, seeking to strengthen ties. On 19 October 2012, Australia secured election to a seat as a Non-Permanent Member of the United Nations Security Council. The initiative had been launched by the Rudd Government. In October 2012, the Government released the Asian Century White Paper, offering a strategic framework for "Australia's navigation of the Asian Century". The report included focus on Australia's relations with China, India, the key ASEAN countries as well as Japan and South Korea.
  • 2011
    Age 49
    Born in 2011.
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    Gillard pledged to re-negotiate the tax proposal and a revised Minerals Resource Rent Tax was approved by the House of Representatives on 24 November 2011, with the Government announcing that a 30 per cent tax would start on 1 July 2012 and would be expected to generate about $12 billion to 2013/14.
    More Details Hide Details The Government said that it would allocate funds raised towards a company tax rate cut, infrastructure and an increase in the superannuation guarantee rate from nine to 12 per cent. The 2012–13 Budget set aside the proceeds of the new tax to fund family payments, a bonus for school-aged children and small business tax breaks. However, rather than generating revenue, in the first quarter the new tax incurred a tax credit liability for the government, as mining companies had no tax payable under the MRRT calculation, but could credit their state government royalty payments against future MRRT liabilities. The federal government must pay 10% compound interest on MRRT tax credits. In February 2013, Treasurer Swan announced that the new tax had raised $126 million during its first six months. The Government had originally budgeted for the MRRT to raise $3 billion through the 2012–13 financial year.
    At Labor's 2011 conference in Sydney, Prime Minister Gillard mentioned every Labor Prime Minister since World War Two with the exception of Kevin Rudd.
    More Details Hide Details The speech was widely reported as a "snub" to Rudd. Amdist ongoing poor two-party preferred polling results for the government, and following the loss of Independent MP Andrew Wilkie's support on the floor of the Parliament, and an Australia Day security scare in which Gillard's office had been implicated in "tipping off" a rowdy protest emanating from the Aboriginal Tent Embassy in Canberra, senior Labor figures were openly discussing the question of Rudd's desire to lead the party in the media. Simon Crean told radio 3AW: "Rudd can't be leader again... People will not elect as leaders those they don't perceive as team players". Treasurer Swan told ABC TV in February that "Sure, there's one or two individuals out there who are disgruntled, they are feeding some of these stories" but that the majority of caucus supported Gillard. The Greens leader Bob Brown also continued to support Gillard, telling journalists in February that ongoing criticism of her was "sexist and unfair".
    In November 2011, the Gillard Government had its Speaker Harry Jenkins resign and installed Liberal-National defector Peter Slipper in the Chair.
    More Details Hide Details The manoeuvre was described as "a big win for Gillard" for boosting her numbers on the floor and on 21 January, the Government was able to announce that it would not be proceeding with controversial poker machine reform promised by Gillard to independent Andrew Wilkie. In mid-2012, dissent within the ALP organisation over the ALP-Greens coalition become public, with moves by party officials to change election preferencing arrangements with the Greens. Veteran political journalist Paul Kelly described the debate within Labor as "belated recognition that Gillard's 2010 deal with the Greens was one of the worst strategic decisions in the past 50 years of Labor history".
    In October 2011, Queensland backbencher Graham Perrett announced that if Labor replaced Gillard with Rudd, he would resign and force a by-election – a move which could cost Labor government.
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    Under questioning from the Opposition, Gillard told Parliament on 16 August 2011, "I think he is doing a fine job representing the people of his constituency in this place...
    More Details Hide Details I look forward to him continuing to do that job for a very long, long, long time to come." Gillard maintained her support for Thomson as a Labor MP until late April 2012. Presiding secretary of the HSU, Kathy Jackson, said in February 2012 that as the investigation had taken four years, she suspected the government had intervened to stall the inquiry. A by-election caused by a conviction of a member of parliament could result in the minority Gillard government losing its majority.
    After the devastating flood that caused widespread damage to Queensland, Gillard proposed a temporary levy that would raise $1.8 billion and take effect from 1 July 2011.
    More Details Hide Details The levy would help pay for the reconstruction of roads, rail and bridges in areas damaged by the recent floods. With a minority government, she needed four of the six lower house crossbenchers and all of the crossbench senators, with lower house members, Tony Crook, Bob Katter, Andrew Wilkie and Adam Bandt, supporting the levy. In the Senate, all the cross benchers (Green senators, Steve Fielding and Nick Xenophon) supported the flood levy and passed. In a February Newspoll, it showed that 55 per cent supported the new flood levy. In response to a television program which showed footage of mis-treatment of Australian sourced cattle at certain Indonesian abattoirs, in June 2011, Agriculture Minister Joe Ludwig announced the suspension of Australia's live cattle export trade to Indonesia, pending an examination of animal welfare considerations. Indonesia threatened to challenge the Gillard Government's ban at the World Trade Organisation. Live cattle exports were banned for two months and new guidelines introduced. While animal welfare campaigners called for the ban to remain permanent, the agricultural sector in Northern Australia suffered significant loss of earnings and the 2012 Federal Budget confirmed that a potential class action had been communicated to the government from livestock producers and related industries, seeking compensation for loss of trade.
    The scheme was passed under the Rudd Government in June 2010 and came into effect under Gillard on 1 January 2011, which paid $570 a week.
    More Details Hide Details According to figures released by Families Minister Jenny Macklin, 15,450 (as of 30 January 2011) have applied. There were claims when GIllard was the Deputy Prime Minister, she questioned and opposed the scheme, which she denied. Chris Bowen succeeded Chris Evans to serve as Labor's Minister for Immigration and Citizenship in the Gillard Government. Broadly, the Gillard Government maintained Australia's long-term bi-partisan policy of a large, multi-ethnic annual immigration program. Gillard sought to rhetorically re-position the Labor Government away from Kevin Rudd's "Big Australia" population goal. Gillard also identified the Labor Government's handling of asylum seeker policy under Kevin Rudd as a policy area requiring improvement. In response to growing numbers of boat arrivals and deaths at sea, the Gillard government revised Labor's position on asylum seeker policy and adopted support for offshore processing. It elected not to re-open offshore processing centres established under the Howard Government, and instead sought other arrangements in the region—notably through the announcement of a limited people-exchange arrangement with Malaysia. The Malaysian proposal involved Australia sending 800 asylum seekers to Malaysia in exchange for 4000 processed refugees. However, the plan was blocked by the High Court and the government later acted to re-open the Pacific Solution processing centres.
    In late 2011, the Gillard Government reversed the Rudd Government's policy of blocking uranium sales to India for not being a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
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    In Commonwealth relations, Gillard represented Australia at the Wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton in London in April 2011 and hosted the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Perth in October of that year.
    More Details Hide Details The Perth CHOGM saw the historic announcement, by Gillard and British Prime Minister David Cameron, of changes to the succession laws regarding to thrones of the Commonwealth realms, overturning rules privileging male over female heirs to the line of succession and removing a ban on Roman Catholic consorts.
    In April 2011, Gillard embarked on a North Asia trip, promoting closer military, economic and trade ties.
    More Details Hide Details Her visit to Japan was the first by a foreign dignitary after the devastating earthquake and tsunami. South Korea and China were also part of her trip. Gillard was the first foreign leader to address the Parliament of New Zealand.
    Gillard made her first visit to Washington as Prime Minister on 5 March 2011.
    More Details Hide Details She held meetings with President Barack Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. She also met with Michelle Obama and John McCain. Gillard, addressed a joint session of the United States Congress, the fourth Australian leader to do and first foreign dignitary to address the 112th congress.
    Gillard travelled to the United States in March 2011 to mark the 60th Anniversary of the ANZUS Alliance and was invited to address the United States Congress.
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    Following the 2011 Egyptian revolution and resignation of Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, Rudd called for "constitutional reform and a clear timetable towards free and fair elections".
    More Details Hide Details In response to the 2011 Libyan civil war, Rudd announced in early March 2011 that a no-fly zone should be enforced by the international community as a "lesser of two evils" to prevent dictator Muammar Gaddafi from using the Libyan airforce to attack protesters and rebels. The Age and other media outlets reported this as representing a rift between Rudd and Prime Minister Gillard, and said that US officials in Canberra had sought official clarification on what the Australian government was proposing. Speaking from Washington, Ms Gillard said in response that the United Nations Security Council should consider a "full range" of options to deal with the situation, and that Austialia was not planning to send forces to enforce a no-fly zone. For her part, Prime Minister Gillard attended the APEC Japan 2010 summit in, where she held her first face-to-face meeting with US President Barack Obama. Obama thanked the Prime Minister for Australia's continuing assistance and contribution to the Afghanistan War. While Gillard sent her condolences to the American people and the President for the American casualties in Afghanistan
    In May 2011 Gillard announced that Australia and Malaysia were "finalising" an arrangement to exchange asylum seekers for processed refugees (the plan was dubbed the "Malaysia Solution").
    More Details Hide Details Malaysia was not a signatory to the UN Refugee Convention, which Nauru has now moved to sign, but the Government maintained that while it no longer believed that only signatories to the Convention were suitable, Nauru would not be feasible. Gillard and Immigration Minister Chris Bowen said they were close to signing a bilateral agreement which would result in 800 asylum seekers who arrive in Australia by boat being taken to Malaysia instead and Australia would take 4,000 people from Malaysia who had previously been assessed as refugees. On 31 August the High Court ruled that the agreement to transfer refugees from Australia to Malaysia was invalid, and ordered that it not proceed the on the basis that it contravened human rights protections established under existing laws. In an unusual attack on the judiciary, the Gillard questioned the consistency of Chief Justice Robert French as she faced political criticism over the rejection of the Malaysia Solution. She accused the court of missing an opportunity to "send a message" to asylum-seekers, sparking opposition charges she has breached the doctrine of the separation of powers.
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