You made me feel the proudest I have ever been to be an Australian. Although there were some things you let me down on, I realise this was a necessity in the hung parliament you otherwise mastered.
This was the letter I wrote to Ms Gillard on the eve of her removal as Prime Minister by Rudd;
Thankyou, from an eternally grateful 21 year old;
Dear Ms Gillard,
My name is Tom Gallagher. I am 21 years old, and have recently graduated from university.
After watching events unfold last night, I grew angrier and angrier. When I woke this morning, I felt bitter, upset, and had an overwhelming sense of loss. For me, today was sombre and mournful.
I decided that I would write to you, expressing my feelings. However, I feel I can safely presume that you have heard many different things today from many different people. I’m not sure much, if any of it, is helpful, or of any meaningful condolence. For this reason, I was conflicted as to whether I should write to you at all.
After much thought, I felt so compelled to write to you. Instead of offering condolence, I want to let you know how much you have done for me, for this country, for our future, and how truly appreciative I am for it.
I know, as you do too, how much you have achieved for all Australians.
On a personal level, you have moved me in a way no other politician or public figure has. Although clearly not a woman, I have struggled with issues in my life that have at times, made me feel like I am marginalised because of difference of being or opinion. For this reason, throughout your campaign against the misogynistic underbelly which you single-handedly have brought into the glare of the public, it resonated with me deeply – it instilled me with hope and convinced me never to cast doubt on my aspirations because of the abuse, ignorance and glare of others.
I have recently graduated from university. My parents are both middle class, but have worked incredibly hard their entire lives. As children, my mother left her successful career to raise myself and my brother, caring for us by day, then having to work in a supermarket packing shelves after we went to bed until we woke up, to do it all again the next day. My father works 6 days in a row, alternating from 3am to 3pm shifts, to 1pm to 11pm shifts. Neither have a university education. However, from infancy, both instilled in their children the importance of education and hard work.
Finishing last year, and having my ceremony less than 2 weeks ago, I am the first in my family to graduate from university and receive a tertiary education. I now hold a Bachelor of Political, Economic and Social Science from the University of Sydney. My goal is to have the honour of serving the public like you in an elected capacity. I have, already, begun work for a politician in NSW, and am confident that maybe, one day, I will achieve this. With your dedication to workers rights, education and equal rights for all irrespective of individual circumstance, I feel many more young people like me – from less privileged backgrounds, will benefit immeasurably from your work.
Your disability reforms will help the most disadvantaged and vulnerable in this nation. Your education reforms will support this decades ahead. All of this will be seen in the many years to come.
I one day hope to have the honour of meeting you, and thanking you in person. You will guide much of the decisions and actions I take in my future – both professional and personal. No matter what the media says, the party, or anyone else for that matter, I would like you to know that the difference you have made in one young man’s life cannot be measured in polls, in history books, in newspapers or any other tangible means. It is eternal, transcendent and a feeling of gratitude I hold uniquely unto you.
Your legacy will be everlasting, and I thank you. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.