Mary Delahunty describes her book about the final twelve months of Julia Gillard’s prime ministership as an exploration of “where the personal meets the political”, and it is this perspective that I found particularly revealing.
As a journalist and former state politician, Mary Delahunty was given permission to follow Julia Gillard around during those last twelve months, with rare access to the Prime Minister’s schedule and those working with and around her, allowing the writer particular insight into emerging events.
Not always complimentary of every policy decision made by the Gillard government, Mary Delahunty seeks to understand the broader reasons why Julia Gillard was unable to gain credit or respect for her numerous significant achievements in office, including the NDIS, Gonski reforms and getting the carbon tax through a hostile parliament. Her detailed exploration of the impact of deep-seated sexism on Julia Gillard as Prime Minister, both in the community and in the parliament, as well as the constant and bitter undermining from both Tony Abbott and Kevin Rudd, makes for compelling reading.
Mary Delahunty’s book is both informative and thought-provoking, giving voice to the frustration experienced by many women watching this drama unfold, and offering answers to some of the complex questions many of us were trying to understand during those bitter months in 2013.