No Bronze Statue Yet For PM Tony Abbott As Ballarat Runs Out Of Funds For Botanical Garden Bust

By @vitthernandez on
Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard speaks at the National Press Club in Canberra January 30, 2013. Gillard stunned voters on Wednesday by setting a national election for September 14, eight months away, in her first major political speech for 2013. E
Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard speaks at the National Press Club in Canberra January 30, 2013. Gillard stunned voters on Wednesday by setting a national election for September 14, eight months away, in her first major political speech for 2013. Elections must be held in Australia by the end of the year, but Gillard said she wanted to end political uncertainty by setting the date now. REUTERS/Stringer (AUSTRALIA - Tags: POLITICS ELECTIONS)

Former Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard unveiled on Thursday her bronze statue at the Prime Ministers Garden in Ballarat. Political cartoonist Peter Nicholson sculpted the bust of the country's 27th and only female PM.

However, she may be the last to have a bronze bust in the same garden. Currrent Prime Minister Tony Abbott would possibly not have one because the garden has run out funds for making statues, reports The Courier.

According to Councilor Des Hudson, the funds set aside by politician Richard Armstrong Crouch is empty. Crouch originally donate money to pay for six busts, the first of which was unveiled in 1940.

The cost to produce a bronze bust ranges from $45,000 to $65,000 each, said Hudson who added that the city was about to create the 28th statue of Abbott when it discovered there is no money to pay for the bust.

The councillor said that Ballarat would lobby the federal government for funds to continue the tradition. He explained, "Ballarat is the only location with busts of all the prime ministers since the Australian Federation and we need to make sure the avenue continues."

Hudson added, "Every year, thousands of people stroll through the gardens to catch a glimpse of the collection and have knowledge of just how special it is."

The sculptor, who made the busts of former PMs Malcol Fraser, Bob Hawke, Paul Keating, John Howard and Kevin Rudd, disclosed that "When I was doing this portrait, Julia Gillard was under ferocious attack from the left, the right, the centre, from the back and from the front. So I was trying to make an image which captured the idea of her courage and not letting all these things beat her down."

Ms Gillard, who served as PM from 2010 through 2013, said she is impressed with the statue. She quipped, quoted by ABC, "I like to think that in years to come, perhaps when I'm a bit less noticeable than I am now, I will be able to sneak a holiday to Ballarat ... and that I might, with some anonymity, be able to saunter up and down this walk and stand in front of this [sculpture] and remember this day."

During her days as PM, Ms Gillard was a popular caricature figure with her prominent nose and bob hair. She was even featured in an episode of The Simpsons, while some of her videos such as her misogyny speech against Mr Abbott and her slip while in India became viral.

YouTube/John Groves