Matthew Winkler Talks to Julia Gillard

Australia’s Prime Minister offers her views on female politicians, a proposed tax on miners, and Rupert Murdoch’s power in her country

You’ve been derided for having an empty fruit bowl in your home as if that were some kind of failing. Is there a double standard when it comes to judging your leadership?
I’m very conscious I’m the first woman to do this job. I live in an age of great opportunities for women and me being here shows that, but there are some special things that intrigue people about female politicians: dress, style, hair. Those things are much more remarked on than they would be for a male politician. But I don’t get up every morning and think of myself as a woman doing the job of Prime Minister. I think about myself as Prime Minister.
Business leaders oppose your planned 30 percent tax on mining companies. Why is it a good idea?
The minerals resource rent tax is really about taking a fair share of taxation from the highly profitable companies in the sector of the economy that is turbo-charged, and using some of that to bolster growth in other sections of the economy. So it’s the right thing to do for our nation during these days of economic transformation.
How concerned are you about News Corp.’s 70 percent ownership of Australia’s newspapers?
Our eyes have to be on the big things that are changing—the economics of the newspaper industry itself, the way people get information, the convergence between print and electronic media. The convergence of the technologies is driving us to look anew at the best regulatory settings so we’re not in the business of trying to unpack media ownership.

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