June 28th – Paul Bunyan Day

So all I know about Paul Bunyan is from an episode of the Simpsons, he was a big man who was a lumber jack  and had a massive blue bull as a friend. I think that part is true to the folklore, maybe not the parts about him rushing villages and falling in love with a human woman, but hey I’d never heard the stories so maybe they are parts of it. I didn’t really want to celebrate this folklore (although I’ll take any opportunity to talk about The Simpsons!) so I’ve taken the message and twisted it in my own way. Hear me out okay!

Paul Bunyan is a legend. But a legend meaning myth. There’s another type of legend which needs to be celebrated, and I met one today. Legends will never be forgotten because of who they touch and the land they impact. They excel in their fields of work and this woman certainly did.

I’m talking about Julia Gillard.

Politics Lesson: Julia Gillard was the first, and since only, female Prime Minister of Australia (2010-2013). Her whole political career and retirement has been dedicated to education and socialism. She was a former lawyer who gave legal advice to the Australian Workers’ Union, Minister for Education, and soon to be the head of Beyond Blue. Her passion for helping people has now extended into mental health with Beyond Blue and she is still a champion for women’s rights.

The troubling thing with Julia Gillard is how she was treated in Parliament just for being a woman, she deserves so much more than what she got, people making fun of her hair, ears and her choice to not have children rather than her policies. I think it’s best summed up in this video of her taking down then Leader of the Opposition, now Former Prime Minister, Tony Abbott.

“I will not be lectured about sexism and misogyny by this man, not now, not ever!”

Iconic.

Please watch it if you haven’t.

Today I watched her give a public lecture about mental health and she is still, as she was then, a legend. Whether it’s on women’s rights, education, or mental health, she is a hero.

What I learnt from Paul Bunyan Day – Not all heroes wear capes, and not all legends are myths.

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