Former PM Julia Gillard, with her dog Reuben at her Melbourne home, thanked her supporters via social media. Photo: Joe Armao
Former prime minister Julia Gillard has taken to social media to thank well wishers, telling them of her plan to spend time with family, two weeks after being ousted from the top job by Kevin Rudd.
The identical Facebook message and tweet, sent on Thursday evening, quickly went viral. Fans, supporters and even journalists posted messages of support and thanked the nation's first female prime minister.
Ms Gillard, who will retire from politics after the coming election, wrote: "Thanks to all who have sent notes and gifts. Deeply appreciated. Looking forward to time with family. Will see you all down the track. JG."
At 10pm, Ms Gillard's Facebook message was "liked" more than 17,500 times and was shared more than 400 times.
The tweet quickly became the second most popular tweet by a federal politician this month with more than 550 retweets and 800 users marking it as a "favourite" message by 10pm.
The responses were overwhelmingly positive towards Ms Gillard, with many expressing regret at her treatment during her time as leader.
One Facebook user, Madeline Northam, wrote: "Thank you for everything you have done for Australia. You will be remembered as a great leader."
Another user, Barry John Downard, said: "You were an inspiration to all of those who wanted to see a better, fairer Australia for ourselves but also for our children and their children.
"You have made a significant contribution to many policy areas such as the environment, education, the economy, employment and productivity; under very difficult political circumstances."
On Twitter, ABC journalist Latika Bourke said: "Hope you are getting a sleep in and your reading diet is fiction for a while. :)"
The loss came almost three years to the day after she took the prime ministership from Mr Rudd
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