ACT News

Hundreds of political junkies line up for Julia Gillard book signing in Canberra

More than a year after she left the Lodge, former prime minister Julia Gillard clearly has no trouble drawing a crowd in Canberra. 

Fresh from a rumoured six-figure advance and with the chance to give her side of the turbulent years of Labor government, Ms Gillard spent more than two hours signing copies of her memoir My Story in Canberra on Tuesday.  

Crowds line up to see former prime minister Julia Gillard at a book signing at the Canberra Centre.
Crowds line up to see former prime minister Julia Gillard at a book signing at the Canberra Centre. Photo: Jeffrey Chan

The book, published by Knopf, is already the best-selling political title of the year despite being described by leadership rival Kevin Rudd as a worthy "contribution to Australian fiction".

Canberra Centre management estimated the crowd at more than 750 people, with a line of political junkies and Christmas shoppers crawling down City Walk.

Leigh Cox, of Turner, meets the former prime minister.
Leigh Cox, of Turner, meets the former prime minister.  Photo: Jeffrey Chan

Australia's first female prime minister was to sign more copies of the 450-page book at a Manuka bookshop on Tuesday afternoon. Earlier she hosted a private function of Labor supporters at Canberra's Hyatt Hotel.

Fans brought presents and flowers to give to Ms Gillard, who was accompanied by a small number of staff in the crowded shopping centre foyer. 


Described by reviewers as candid and insightful, the book could eventually rival former prime minister John Howard's record autobiography Lazarus Rising, which sold 100,000 copies. 

Admirer Leigh Cox found himself at the head of the line after arriving about 8am, three hours before the event started.

"I am excited to see Julia Gillard and not be at the back of the line," he said. "I'm about halfway through the book already. It's my Christmas mission."

The early chapters gave interesting insight into Ms Gillard's relationship with Mr Rudd and her early years in politics and the Labor Party, Mr Cox said. 

"It has interesting comparisons to our current politicians," he said.

Described as an honest account of her career, Ms Gillard shares her view of the criticism and vitriol directed at her after she challenged Mr Rudd, of her years as a lawyer and local MP and reflects on her landmark misogyny speech directed at Tony Abbott in the Parliament. 

She was Australia's 27th prime minister, serving from June 2010 until a successful challenge by Mr Rudd in June last year. 

Self-described "Gillard tragic" Marilyn Collins said she would wait as long as it took to get her copy signed. 

"She changed politics in Australia and deserves credit for being the first woman to become prime minister," Ms Collins said.

"I want to thank and congratulate her for that."

After waiting for nearly two hours, one of the former leader's youngest fans, Amber Sibley, said she wanted to tell Ms Gillard she was an inspiration to young girls. 

"She is my favourite," the seven-year-old said, after lining up with her grandmother and sisters. 

"It is very exciting."