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50 People Who Matter 2010 | 47. Julia Gillard

First lady of Oz.

As Australia's first female prime minister, Julia Gillard has inspired many. But while it was a rapid ascent - the former deputy leader of the Labor Party ousted the incumbent prime minister, Kevin Rudd, and was narrowly elected within the space of three months - challenges lie ahead.

Now leading a fragile coalition with a majority of one, she has unpopular legislation on reducing CO2 emissions to push through. Environmental legislation is a high priority for Australia, which needs to diversify its economy to move beyond its role as China's "coal pit".

Gillard will have to lead the way with cunning and care.


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This article first appeared in the 27 September 2010 issue of the New Statesman, The 50 people who matter