FACTBOX - Five facts about Australian PM Gillard
REUTERS - Julia Gillard became Australia's first female prime minister on Thursday when Kevin Rudd stepped down, as the Labor government sought to avoid election defeat later this year by changing leaders.
Following are five facts about Gillard:
* Gillard, 48, has been one of the government's best public performers in the media and in parliament. Welsh-born, her family migrated to Australia when she was 4 and Gillard practised law before entering politics.
* Gillard is portrayed by some political commentators as a warmer, more voter-friendly politician than the bookish Rudd. Under Rudd she had been minister for employment and workplace relations, education and social inclusion, as well as deputy prime minister.
* Gillard is also a member of the government's so-called four-member "kitchen cabinet", at the centre of policy and strategic direction.
* Gillard has been subjected to a concerted opposition attack on her handling of A$16 billion ($13.9 billion) worth of stimulus spending on school buildings. But the campaign has not dented her popularity with voters or within the ruling Labor Party.
* The change in leadership is unlikely bring any major change in policy direction.
(Reporting by James Grubel; Editing by Mark Bendeich and Jeremy Laurence)
(For more news on Reuters India, click in.reuters.com)
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