PM Julia Gillard’s father passes away

Prime Minister Julia Gillard returned to Adelaide from the APEC summit in Russia following the unexpected passing of her father, John Gillard.

He was 83 years old.

Julia Gillard, who arrived at Adelaide airport yesterday afternoon, was visibly upset as she stepped into the car to reach her parents’ home in Pasadena.

The Prime Minister’s father had passed away on Saturday morning after a short illness.

Treasurer Wayne Swan will be acting Prime Minister this week as Ms Gillard will take time off to grieve.

Mr. Swan said he would remain acting PM for a few days. He also added that Australians would be thinking of Ms Gillard at this “very, very difficult time”.

“I think we all know it’s gut wrenching to lose a parent but when it’s unexpected and when you’re halfway around the world, it’s more so,” he said.

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott also extended his sympathies to the Gillard family.

PM Gillard has described her father as her ‘inspiration’. She also said she would “miss him for the rest of my life”.

The PM will spend the next few days at the family home with her mother, Moira.