Julia Gillard is Australia's First Woman Prime Minister
Julia Gillard became Australia's first woman prime minister yesterday, after former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd abruptly stepped down from his position. Gillard, who has been the deputy prime minister for nearly three years, was unanimously selected by the Labor Party. As prime minister, Rudd had low approval ratings and faced opposition from within the party. He stepped down from his position in order to avoid a party vote on his leadership that would have undoubtedly resulted in his removal from office.
Gillard, 48, was originally born in Wales but moved to Australia at the age of 4, according to the Associated Press. Her interest in politics developed while she was studying law at University. She was first elected to the Australia parliament in 1998.
Upon being elected, Gillard said, "My values and beliefs have driven me to step forward to take this position as prime minister. I will lead a strong and responsible government that will take control of our future," according to the New York Times. While in office, Gillard plans to continue stimulus policies and intends to keep Australian troops in Afghanistan, reported the Associated Press.
The once popular Rudd began to lose support in February, when aspects of his Economic Stimulus Package were shrouded by claims of mismanagement and corruption. His unpopularity grew when he enacted a controversial mining tax. Gillard is seen as more personable than Rudd and Labor Party Officials hope she will be able to regain public support for the party, reported the New York Times.
According to the Associated Press, Gillard has said that she looks up to women who are able to balance having a job and a family. When asked if she sees significance in being Australia's first female prime minister, she responded by saying: "First woman, maybe first redhead - I'll allow you to contemplate which was more unlikely in the modern age." According to CNN, having a female prime minister is seen as long overdue in Australia.
Media Resources: New York Times 6/24/10; CNN 6/24/10; Associated Press 6/24/10; Guardian 6/24/10
10/30/2014 Medication Abortion Access Threatened by Oklahoma Court Ruling - An Oklahoma state district court judge has refused to block a state law restricting medication abortion, clearing the way for the law to go into affect on November 1.
The Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice, together with a local abortion clinic in Tulsa, challenged HB 2684 in September, arguing that the law was an unconstitutional restriction on non-surgical abortion in the earliest weeks of pregnancy. . . .
10/30/2014 UPS Switches Pregnant Worker Policy Ahead of Supreme Court Case - The United Parcel Service (UPS) is changing its policy on light duty assignments for pregnant workers, even though the company will stand by its refusal to extend accommodations to a former employee in an upcoming Supreme Court case.
UPS announced on Monday in a memo to employees, and in a brief filed with the US Supreme Court, that the company will begin offering temporary, light-duty positions to pregnant workers on January 1, 2015. . . .
10/30/2014 North Dakota Medical Students Speak Out Against Measure 1 - Medical students at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences are asking North Dakotans to vote no on Measure 1, a personhood measure on the state ballot this fall.
The students issued published a letter in the Grand Forks Herald stating that they opposed Measure 1 in part because they are against "the government's taking control of the personal health care decisions of its citizens." Nearly 60 UND School of Medicine students signed the letter, citing concerns over the "very broad and ambiguous language" used in the proposed amendment, which has no regard for serious and life-threatening medical situations such as ectopic pregnancies.
Measure 1 would change the North Dakota state constitution to create an "inalienable right to life" for humans "at any stage of development" - including the moment of fertilization and conception. . . .