Created at the 1999 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in South Africa, the Chairperson-in-Office plays a representational role in intergovernmental organisations, during period between Heads of Government Meetings. In 2002, the role was extended to include Good Offices of the Secretary-General and contribute to strategic advocacy of Commonwealth positions in high-level international forums.
The Hon Julia Gillard was sworn in as Australia’s first female Prime Minister on 24 June 2010, and re-sworn in on 14 September 2010 following the Federal Election.
Ms Gillard, a Member of Parliament of the Australian Labor Party, had served concurrently as Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Education, Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations, and Minister for Social Inclusion since December 2007, following the Labor Party’s victory at the Federal Election.
Ms Gillard was the Labor Party's Manager of Opposition Business for three years prior to being elected as Labor's Deputy Leader in December 2006 where she served as Shadow Minister for Employment and Industrial Relations, and Social Inclusion.
After entering Labor's Shadow Ministry in 2001, she served in a number of Shadow Ministerial portfolios including Population and Immigration, Reconciliation and Indigenous Affairs, and Health.
Ms Gillard was elected to the Federal Parliament in 1998 as a Labor Party MP, and served on the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Employment, Education and Workplace Relations.
Prior to her entry into politics, Ms Gillard was Chief of Staff to the then Opposition Leader of the State of Victoria, John Brumby, from May 1996 to 1998. She had earlier worked as a solicitor and partner in a Melbourne law firm, focusing on employment law.
Ms Gillard started her arts and law degrees at the University of Adelaide where she was elected National Education Vice-President of the Australian Union of Students (AUS) in 1983. Later that year, she moved to the University of Melbourne to complete her degree, and was elected President of the AUS. Ms Gillard has a BA and LLB from the University of Melbourne.
Ms Gillard was born in Barry, Wales, UK, on 29 September 1961. She migrated to Adelaide, Australia, with her family in 1966.
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