Politics off the agenda as Julia Gillard makes rare public appearance
Julia Gillard with partner Tim Mathieson at their Altona home. Photo: Craig AbrahamFormer prime minister Julia Gillard made a rare public appearance at the weekend, making a keynote speech at a religious function in her western Melbourne electorate.
Just hours after Kevin Rudd launched Labor's election campaign, Ms Gillard was the guest of honour at an event of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, where she was presented with a series of documents detailing her family history.
Ms Gillard, who is retiring from politics after Saturday's election, spoke of the influence her parents had on her during her speech at the Werribee church.
In front of a crowd of about 250, mostly young adults, the former PM said learning to prioritise had been helpful while she was working as prime minister.
"There is always a million things happening at once [when you're prime minister] and you could lose the hours of every day chasing down the million things that are happening, or you could concentrate and do the two or three big things that are going to make the longest-term impact or difference," she said.
"When people are running at you with the million things, it can be hard to discipline for that, but it's incredibly important discipline and I think the younger you learn it, the easier it becomes."
The church, colloquially known as Mormons, makes family history work a priority because of its belief that families continue beyond mortality.
Volunteer researchers traced back Ms Gillard's ancestry to four generations, and provided her with a written history featuring stories about her ancestors.
The church has previously presented Mr Rudd and his predecessor, John Howard, with their genealogy, as well as US presidents Barack Obama and George W Bush. Sunday's presentation was the first in Australia to be held in public.
Ms Gillard, the member for Labor, is being replaced as Labor candidate in the seat by Joanne Ryan.