And everything in between. But losing this year’s federal election isn’t even on the 51-year-old’s radar. Gillard, Australia’s 16th longest-serving prime minister, “doesn’t spend any time considering it”. Positive mental attitude? “Absolutely,” she tells me. Gillard is taking time out of her manic schedule to speak to TNT – to remind the thousands of Aussie travellers and expats in London that, even though they’re overseas, their vote counts.

“A lot of people around the world fight and die for the right to vote, so it should never be taken for granted,” Gillard drawls down the phone in that unmistakable Aussie accent that she once apologised for.

But why should they care when they’re out of the country, with no plans to return for a few years? “One day they may come back home, they’ll have an interest in what kind of country they want to come back home to, and this election will be about this future nation.”

Monday marks the 943rd day Gillard has spent in power after her Labor party won a second term against the Liberal/ National Coalition led by Opposition Leader Tony Abbott – but only after she formed a minority government with the support of three independents and one Green MP in 2010.

Since then, it’s been a bumpy ride for Australia’s first woman PM. Gillard has seen her poll rating hit near record lows after announcing the unpopular carbon tax – which hits the biggest polluting businesses and came into force this year. And, in 2011, a poll revealed only 27 per cent of Australians would vote for her – the worst for any major federal political party in almost four years.

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However, last week a study showed Gillard’s personal rating as prime minister had shot up to 45 per cent, compared to Abbott’s 33 per cent.

So what does she count as her biggest achievements so far that have changed public opinion? At number one is managing the economy: “We are unlike the rest of the world and can offer people jobs and opportunities even at a time when America, Europe and the UK are struggling to get their economies to growth.”

Despite being controversial, also on her list of triumphs are carbon pricing and rolling out the national broadband network (NBN). She also includes improvements in education; reforming health and age care; and meeting environmental challenges – focusing on protecting Australia’s oceans.

“We’ve got a lot of governing to do,” she says. “It’s an election year, but for me, it’s another year as prime minister, making changes that make a difference to people today as well as build up to the future.”

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And, of course, her fiery, well-delivered misogyny speech to Abbott in October last year saw her poll rating jump. Gillard tells TNT she “stands by every word” of it, adding: “It was an important contribution as people make decisions in their nation for the future about who’s best to lead it.

“Abbott is seeking to become prime minister of this country, people are entitled to judge him on the attitude he has expressed in public life – an attitude to women, their role and capacity.”

Gillard’s going into 2013 fighting. In terms of issues affecting Australia and what’s on her master plan, she says it’s all about “stewardship” of the economy. “We’ve come through the global financial crisis strong, and we’re focused on continuing to add jobs and diversifying our economy.”

On the topic of same-sex marriage, Gillard says it’s a matter of individual “conscience” rather than being up to the government, after last year’s vote didn’t secure a majority.

Gillard adds she’s committed to a “strong relationship” with the European Union; to working together with the UK for “peace around the world”, including in Afghanistan.

And the unmarried PM says although she doesn’t blame the recent wave of bushfires on climate change, she acknowledges “we are going to see more frequent, more extreme weather events” due to environmental changes.

“This election will be my view about this future nation and whether it’s a strong one, a prosperous one and one full of opportunity, and one in which we’re taking care of each other in new ways,” she says.

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“And it will be a year in which I’m continuing to say the nation we live in is in the growing region of the world; the Asian region. We’re only going to be strong and prosperous in this region in this century if we’re ready for it.”

Although Gillard wants to win, she’s not prepared to fight dirty in this year’s election. In fact, she won’t even be drawn on the topic. “I’m focused on what I need to do … whatever view you’ve got of the past, whether you romanticise it or not, we’ve got to be ready for the future.

“The other side of politics, they can speak for themselves. My general view is that they’ve been a very negative opposition, and they’ve been unable to do anything except say no to things – you won’t build a future by saying no.”

Gillard’s message to TNT readers is to see the globe. “We live in a globalised world … and the more experience you’ve had, the better that is for you, even for your understanding of the world we live in today.”

But is she prepared for more lows? “I’m getting around in more wedges than high-heels,” she laughs. “They’re the safer option, possibly for London pavements as well.”

Is Australia Day still relevant? Gillard on Australia day

January 26 marks the day the First Fleet arrived in Sydney Cove in 1788. But while this anniversary is celebrated by many, other quarters refer to it as Invasion Day. Juila Gillard says marking this occasion is still relevant.

“It gets stronger and stronger,” the PM says. “When I grew up Australia Day was really the long weekender, whereas now there is something in every community around the nation to mark the day.

“It’s also the day for migrants – I’m one myself; I’m a 10-pound pom who turned up in Oz as a four-yearold – in Australia, including from the UK, who take their citizenship vows and become a citizen of our nation. “I think Australia Day has become more meaningful. People are more willing to get out there and celebrate our national day and sense of togetherness.”

Images via Getty and Office for the Australian Prime Minister