Losing power hits "like a fist", says Australia's Gillard

Losing power hits "like a fist", says Australia's Gillard

SYDNEY - Losing power was like being "hit by a fist", Australia's first female prime minister Julia Gillard said Saturday, recounting the pain of being dumped by her party.

Gillard made history in 2010 when she became the first woman to lead the country after ousting Kevin Rudd in a Labor party room coup, a move that shocked the nation, which had voted Rudd into power just three years before.

But in June Gillard received the same treatment herself, with her parliamentary Labor colleagues returning the leadership to Rudd after she failed to turn around dismal opinion poll ratings.

"Losing power is felt physically, emotionally, in waves of sensation, in moments of acute distress," Gillard wrote in a piece published online in The Guardian on Saturday.

"I know now that there are the odd moments of relief as the stress ekes away and the hard weight that felt like it was sitting uncomfortably between your shoulder blades slips off.

"I know too that you can feel you are fine but then suddenly someone's words of comfort, or finding a memento at the back of the cupboard as you pack up, or even cracking jokes about old times, can bring forth a pain that hits you like a fist, pain so strong you feel it in your guts, your nerve endings."

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