Julia Gillard says she’ll pursue education and women’s issues in life after politics

Memoir of a prime minister

Julia Gillard has given her first known interview since losing the Labor leadership, in which she says she will be pursuing education and women’s issues on the global stage.

Speaking to two representatives from Laureate International Universities in New York, including a student from Malaysia, Ms Gillard has said that she is looking forward to travelling and promoting causes overseas that she has been passionate about in Australia.

”I’m looking forward to doing some international travel and pursing internationally the causes I’ve been so passionate about locally in Australia, particularly education and empowerment for women and girls,” she said.

The interview came as Ms Gillard announced her memoirs will be published next year, and that she will be writing the book herself while events are still “emotionally and intellectually” fresh.

“I want to write a book so that in my own words, in my own way I can reflect on my period in politics,” Ms Gillard said on her deal with Penguin Random House.

“This will be my words direct.”

Ms Gillard announced the book deal in a promotional video with the publisher.

In her six-minute interivew with the university network, Ms Gillard said that it had been a mixed bag being Australia’s first female prime minister.

”It’s an experience that’s mixed, I’d have to say.  Endless focus on hair, and clothes and shoes and things that men don’t have to put up with,” she said.

The former prime minister said the only way to shift that focus was for more women to gain leadership positions.

”Once it’s more normal, then all of that chatter will become boring.”

Ms Gillard is in New York attending the Clinton Global Initiative – a prestigious annual meeting of global leaders including the likes of Bono, Barack Obama and IMF boss Christine Lagarde, to come up with ‘‘innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges’’.

The initiative is led by former US president Bill Clinton, together with his wife, former secretary of state Hillary Clinton, and daughter Chelsea. Mr Clinton also serves as Honorary Chancellor of Laureate International Universities.

Ms Gillard, who has kept a low profile since losing her job to Kevin Rudd in June, is attending the New York meeting for the first time. The interview did not include questioning about the Labor leadership, the federal election or Mr Rudd.

When asked about key highlights of her time in power, she nominated pricing carbon and the National Disability Insurance Scheme along with her education reforms.

She said the ”trickiest” thing about leadership in a 24/7 media cycle was being ”focused on the long-term things that matter”.

A spokesman for Ms Gillard said she had no further comment about her New York trip. Her memoirs are due to be published in October next year.

Ms Gillard said that she would be out to promote her book when it was published.

“It will be a big public contact for me in a way that I think I won’t have done since the days of being prime minister.”

Since losing the Labor leadership, she has written a lengthy essay about the Labor Party and its future, and is due to appear in a Q and A session with Anne Summers in Sydney and Melbourne next week.

Ms Gillard will take up an honorary professorship at the University of Adelaide in November.

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