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Tears in parliament as Gillard remembers dad

Tears in parliament as Gillard remembers dad

An emotional Julia Gillard in federal parliament today

Prime Minister Julia Gillard choked back tears in parliament today in a heartfelt tribute to her late father John Gillard.

In her first appearance in federal parliament since the passing of her 83-year-old father less than two weeks ago, the Prime Minister thanked members of parliament for their kind wishes and support since his death, and praised her Dad in an emotional speech.

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She spoke of her family’s humble beginnings in Wales, where Mr Gillard grew up “in a state of hardship”, leaving school at age 14 before becoming a police officer, which led to him meeting Julia’s mother Moira, then a policewoman.

“He confessed to my partner Tim, that the initial point of attraction was her black stockings,” Ms Gillard said.

She attributed her becoming Prime Minister to her father’s Labor values, and belief in the value of education that he instilled in her.

“He felt more deeply than me, in many ways, some of the personal attacks, that we face in the business of politics, but I was always able to reassure him that he had raised a daughter with sufficient strength not to let that get her down.”

Ms Gillard struggled to keep her composure as she recalled her father’s words to her.

“The last thing my father taught me was ‘in the life of a man, there is a moment to go gentle into that good night, and so it was’,” she said.

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Opposition leader Tony Abbott offered sympathy and echoed praise of the Prime Minister’s father in his opening address, praising John Gillard for raising a remarkable daughter.

“This is a tragic time for her and we all feel for her at this very difficult and sad time,” he said.

“It is a remarkable parent who produces a Prime Minister of this country.”

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