Five years after she was pushed out of the top job, Gillard finally had her official portrait unveiled today.
“The portrait was on the list (to get done), I’d always say ‘let’s just forget about it’,” she told the crowd in Canberra.
“Finally there was a day when Nina, who works in my office, came to me .. and said ‘You know, you ought to get that portrait done before you look a hell of a lot older than you did when you were prime minister’.”
Vincent Fantauzzo, whose wife Asher Keddie was in the crowd, painted the portrait.
“I wanted to capture Julia as someone (who is) a game-changer, someone proud, humble and really passionate about Australians,” he said.
Gillard said no painting could capture an entire prime ministership.
“But I decided there was one story that this portrait could tell. It could tell the story that I was different from every prime minister that had come before,” she said.
“I was the first woman to serve in this role.
“So I wanted the portrait to be visibly different to any other portrait that had gone before.”
Gillard said when schoolchildren visit parliament in the future she wants them to notice how different the portrait is.
“Then run their eye back up and think maybe it’s because it’s the first woman,” she said.
“And then maybe think to themselves ‘Gee, it’s kind of crazy it took that long for there to be the first woman prime minister’.”
Former Liberal prime minister Tony Abbott was in the front row for the unveiling and shook hands with Gillard after it was unveiled.
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