Julia Gillard: In Conversation

Last night I attended Julia Gillard in Conversation, a WORD Christchurch event, in a packed Charles Luney auditorium, St Margaret’s College. The conversation between the former Australian Prime Minister and Press editor Joanna Norris was based on Gillard’s book, My Story. The talk was very insightful – not only about the difficulties of being a politician, but also about being a woman in politics.

Cover of My story by Julia GillardFrom the perspective of a male attending this session, I found the feminist conversation very interesting. Today’s different feminist perspectives illustrate how far society has moved forward since the 1960s and how the feminist ideology has also changed.

Over her life, Gillard has developed her own independent values which she openly shares and is very willing to debate. When her family settled in Adelaide, Gillard acknowledged that she was “lucky” her parents chose a house in a good suburb that was in a good school zone. From here she flourished and developed ideals such as compassion.

Gillard places great importance on a supportive family, including her sheltered upbringing, a good education, and having a lot of passion. What struck a chord with me was Gillard’s support for gender, socio-economic and ethnic equality. She encourages people to follow their dreams in their chosen field and hopes more females will continue to enter a career in politics.

Gillard shared that she, Prime Minister John Key and United States President, Barack Obama, all share the same birth year of 1961. Growing up in this time and the resulting decades saw Gillard develop a sense of standing up for what she believed in and also accepting differences (true democratic rights). The time a person enters parliament clearly influences the success of their political career. Gillard stated some of the greatest politicians never hold cabinet positions because they are on the wrong side of the benches.

Cover of The Stalking of Julia GillardGillard is a hard worker, who has continued to achieve. She laughed at the fact she even had her book to the publisher on time. This illustrates her strong work ethic. She stressed the value of preserving a ‘cone of silence’ (while in politics) to plan for the future and to ensure you spend time with family. She acknowledged this was not easy when there is so much to deal with and so many different ways of being immediately contacted – mobile phone, pager, email etc.

A sense of humour is a must. Gillard highlighted the importance of having to make light of news stories particularly those that are corrosive in nature. Gillard shared a story of her father who questioned whether the media would have enquired about his own sexuality, as he was a barber, in the same way that they did that of her partner’s, Tim, who is a hairdresser. Disappointingly, the media continue to misreport her to this day, most recently at Gough Whitlam’s funeral.

Overall this was an enjoyable event with a very good local turnout. I believe history will look back favourably at Gillard and her work to ensure a more equal society for all.

Summer is coming – let’s dine al fresco

Cover of Weber's Complete Barbecue Book Throw off the winter blues, get out the BBQ, clean it up, heat it up and get cooking!

Barbecuing tips from the family chef:

  • when cooking fish on the BBQ, wrap it in foil with sliced lemon and herbs
  • when making kebabs, soak wooden skewers overnight in water before using to prevent them from burning
  • when cooking steak turn only once to prevent dry meat and to allow each side to become crunchy… it really works
  • put marinades on towards end of cooking as sugar or honey in them will cause burning
  • fruit is lovely for afters; cook in foil with sprinkles of brown sugar
  • ladies, don’t get caught in the trap of men doing the cooking and you cleaning up the barbie before and after cooking!

Check our library books and eBooks for wonderful recipes and hints on the best ways to barbecue.

Cover of The Great Bloke's BBQ Cookbook Cover of Salad Cover of Ribs, Chops, Steaks and Wings Cover of Fired up Vegetarian Cover of Beach, Bach, Boat, Barbecue Cover of The BBQ Book Cover of Ben's BBQ Bible Cover of Weber's Time to Grill

Funeral procession for the Ballantynes fire victims : Picturing Canterbury

Funeral procession for the Ballantynes Fire Victims. Arthur Cyril Pearce was a driver of dignitaries at the tragically large funeral for 41 victims of the fire and gained these photos from an unknown friend in the crowd. This photo shows the trucks that we think contained the bodies of the victims. They are loaded with flowers. 23 November 1947. Entry in the 2013 Christchurch City Libraries Photo Hunt. Kete Christchurch. CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 NZ