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Former PM Julia Gillard receives UC honorary doctorate

Claudia Doman

30 October 2015: Australia's first female Prime Minister Julia Gillard received an honorary doctorate from the University of Canberra today, in recognition of her distinguished service to education, gender equality and the Australian community.

During her time in government, Ms Gillard delivered education reforms at every level from early childhood to university, with a special focus on disadvantaged children. 

She championed new standards to improve the quality of childcare and access to early childhood education and developed a needs-based funding system for schools. Ms Gillard also established Australia's first national school curriculum and ensured significant investment in school buildings and facilities.

A strong believer in the transformative power of education as a route to opportunity, self-improvement and social mobility, Ms Gillard said she was "delighted" to receive this recognition.

"I'm thrilled to receive an honorary doctorate from the University of Canberra, an innovative, young, world-ranked institution which embraces the importance of providing education opportunities to all," she said.

Ms Gillard has enjoyed a distinguished career as a lawyer and Member of the Australian Parliament's House of Representatives. As Australia's first female Deputy Prime Minister and first female Prime Minister, Ms Gillard played an integral part in the shaping of Australia, and delivered significant reforms in education, health care, communications and the economy.

Ms Gillard is a Distinguished Fellow with the Center for Universal Education at the Brookings Institution in Washington, an Honorary Professor at the University of Adelaide, Patron of the John Curtin Prime Ministerial Library and a member of the board of directors of Beyond Blue. In February 2014 she was appointed chair of the Global Partnership for Education, a leading organisation dedicated to expanding access to quality education worldwide.

Ms Gillard visited the University of Canberra on a number of occasions as a minister and Prime Minister.

She retains a connection with the University through her current role as Chancellor of online education provider Dūcere, with whom the University has partnered to deliver undergraduate and postgraduate business degrees.

The former Prime Minister received the award during a ceremony held at the start of the University's annual celebration of the Vice-Chancellor's Excellence Awards.