Former prime minister Julia Gillard (file image)
Anti-immigration supporters are hailing Julia Gillard as a hero. Image by Lukas Coch/AAP PHOTOS

‘Get out of Australia’ speech falsely attributed to former PM

Blair Simpson-Wise April 12, 2024

Julia Gillard told immigrants to adapt to Christian, Australian values or else leave the country.


False. There’s no record of Ms Gillard making any such statement. Much of it can be traced to a US politician's 2001 newspaper opinion piece.

Former prime minister Julia Gillard has been accused of making a speech in which she tells immigrants to adapt to Australian life or else leave the country.

The claim is false. There is no record of the former Labor leader making any such speech and a representative for Ms Gillard described it as fake news. 

A large portion of the supposed speech can be traced back to a 2001 newspaper opinion piece from an American politician.

One Facebook post (archived here) praises Ms Gillard for telling Muslims who want to live under Islamic sharia law to “get out of Australia”, saying she should be appointed “Queen of the World”.

“IMMIGRANTS, NOT AUSTRALIANS, MUST ADAPT. Take It Or Leave It. I am tired of this nation worrying about whether we are offending some individual or their culture. Since the terrorist attacks on Bali, we have experienced a surge in patriotism by the majority of Australian,” the post claims Ms Gillard said.

A screenshot of one of the Facebook posts.
 The posts are sharing disinformation about Julia Gillard. 

“We speak mainly ENGLISH, not Spanish, Lebanese, Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Russian, or any other language. Therefore, if you wish to become part of our society …. Learn the language,” the post also claims Ms Gillard said.

“We didn’t force you to come here. You asked to be here. So accept the country YOU accepted,” she supposedly concluded.

It also says she angered Muslims by saying she supported spy agencies monitoring mosques and that Christianity was integral to Australia.

Similar posts have been shared multiple times, as seen here, here, here, here and here.

“This is a fake article which has come into circulation a few times over the years,” a representative for the former prime minister told AAP FactCheck. “All the statements they claim Ms Gillard made are false.” 

Posts have linked Ms Gillard to the “speech” since at least 2010.

Julia Gillard in parliament (file image)
 Julia Gillard was prime minister from 2010 to 2013. 

Many posts claim she made the speech on September 19, 2012.

She made public speeches at two events that day – a meeting with the NSW Independent and Catholic Schools Sector and an Australian Multicultural Council Lecture – according to the official PM Transcripts website, which documents public comments from all prime ministers.

Ms Gillard did not make any such comments at either event. In fact, she said the opposite at the lecture.

“Migration is an act of nation-building. And multiculturalism is how we make it work,” she said.

A Google search reveals much of the claimed speech comes from a newspaper opinion piece, titled This is America, Like It or Leave It, written by Republican politician Barry Loudermilk in 2001.

Lourdermilk’s piece was reportedly first published in The Bartow Trader newspaper in Georgia and later appeared in a magazine published by VietNow, a now-defunct veterans charity.

In the spurious posts about Ms Gillard, some quotes referencing America have been changed or omitted to fit the context of Australia.

Where Loudermilk wrote, “Since the terrorist attacks on September 11th, we have experienced a surge of patriotism”, the posts swap “September 11th” with “Bali” – in reference to the Bali bombings in 2002.

Former treasurer Peter Costello (file image)
 Peter Costello made comments about sharia law in 2005. 

AFP FactCheck has also debunked the posts, finding Ms Gillard’s alleged comments about sharia law resemble those made by former Liberal treasurer Peter Costello

“If you want a country which has sharia law or a theocratic state, then Australia is not for you,” Mr Costello told an ABC news program in March 2005.

The claim Ms Gillard angered Muslims by supporting spying on mosques matches hoax emails which also targeted her prime ministerial predecessors Kevin Rudd and John Howard.

The hoax emails appear to be a reference to Mr Howard’s 2005 announcement that mosques and Islamic schools would be monitored as part of anti-terrorism operations.

The speech has also been falsely attributed to former US president Donald Trump.

The Verdict

The claim that Julia Gillard told immigrants to adapt to Christian, Australian values or else leave the country is false.

There is no record of the former prime minister making any such statement. A representative for Ms Gillard described it as fake news.

Much of the supposed speech can be traced to an opinion piece featured in a 2001 US newspaper.

False – The claim is inaccurate.

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