International Travel

Joanita Wibowo

"I'm so sorry": The touching letter Julia Gillard received on a flight

"I'm so sorry": The touching letter Julia Gillard received on a flight

Former prime minister Julia Gillard has shared a heartfelt note she received from a woman on a recent flight.

In the letter, the passenger – who identified herself as Kate – thanked Gillard for “being such a strong, intelligent and unapologetic role model”, emphasising on her impact during her time as Australia’s first female prime minister.

“You smashed that glass ceiling out of the park for so many of us,” she wrote, saying that the former Labor leader had inspired her to move to Canberra to work in the public service.

Kate added that she and her girlfriends use the term “WWJD” for “What would Julia do?” to inspire themselves to push against obstacles in their career.

Gillard retired from politics less than two months after she was ousted from her seat as prime minister and Labor leader in 2013.

During her tenure, her misogyny speech in response to sexist comments from then-Opposition leader Tony Abbott went viral across the world. 

“I will not be lectured about sexism and misogyny by this man, I will not,” Gillard said then.

Kate praised Gillard for her persistence in “fighting forward”, saying that the leader had “done more than your share of emotional labour for our country already”.

She wrote, “I’m so sorry about the way you were treated and even now I know it’s something the country looks back at in deep shame. I hope that we learn from it and you get the apology you deserve some day.”

Gillard shared the note on her social media pages. 

“Thanks to Kate, who passed this note to me on a flight recently,” Gillard wrote. 

“I didn’t get to meet you to thank you, but I really appreciate your generous words.”