Prime Minister puts politics on hold after father's death

Prime Minister Julia Gillard will be absent for at least half of this week's session of Parliament, after flying home from Russia to be by her mother's side following the death of her father.

John Gillard, 83, died suddenly on Saturday while Ms Gillard was attending an APEC summit in Vladivostok.

The Prime Minister left the meeting early to return to Australia and is now in Adelaide with her family.

Ms Gillard's partner Tim Mathieson did not travel to Russia but has also now flown to Adelaide.

The Prime Minister has asked for privacy and has not spoken publicly about her loss except in a statement she issued on Saturday.

Trade Minister Craig Emerson remained in Vladivostok to represent Australia on Ms Gillard's behalf for the remainder of the APEC summit.


Coming close to tears yesterday, Dr Emerson said he was with the Prime Minister shortly after she received news of her father's death.

''Julia's really upset,'' Dr Emerson said.

''Her dad was 83 but he was so proud of Julia and such a loving father to her, so of course she was upset.

''There is no good time to lose your dad. I know that everyone here who has lost a parent knows the kind of grief Julia is going through now.''

Condolences poured in for the Prime Minister as news of her father's death became known.

Political leaders in Australia have expressed their sympathies and have been joined by leaders from around the world.

Dr Emerson said the other leaders at APEC had been wonderful, and that Russian President Vladimir Putin had been quick to call Ms Gillard.

Indonesia's Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa expressed the sentiment of those still at the summit.

''We all share her grief and deep and profound sympathy,'' he said.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and other leaders also expressed their sympathies.

Ms Gillard would have missed Parliament today anyway if she had stayed in Russia for the leaders' meeting.

But she will now be absent at least for today and tomorrow and possibly the rest of the week.

Parliament resumes today after a two-week recess and a new code of conduct will be one of the first items on the agenda.

Independent MP Rob Oakeshott is pushing for new standards for parliamentarians and legislation should pass this week with support from Labor.

Mr Abbott might get attention he won't want this week with the release today of a Quarterly Essay article detailing claims of violence and intimidation over a university election result in 1977.

Fairfax media ran extracts of the article, written by David Marr, over the weekend, including an account by Barbara Ramjan that Mr Abbott ''punched the wall on either side of my head'' after she beat him in the vote for the university's student representative council presidency.

Mr Abbott initially told Mr Marr he had no recollection of the 1977 incident.

The Opposition Leader has subsequently denied that it happened at all. with AAP