Gillard arrives back in Australia after father's death

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard has arrived in Adelaide to be with her family and grieve for her father, John Gillard.

Ms Gillard made the long journey from Russia to be with her family after learning of her father's death shortly after she arrived in Vladivostock for the APEC summit.

She was told her 83-year-old father had died unexpectedly on Saturday.

Russian President Vladimir Putin made the news public, telling the conference Ms Gillard could not be present because of her father's death.

Ms Gillard returned home as soon as she learnt of her father's unexpected death on Saturday.

She has not publicly spoken about her loss but said in a statement she would miss him for the rest of her life.

"My father was my inspiration,'' she said.

Ministers have rallied around the prime minister, with acting prime minister Wayne Swan saying he would continue in that role until she was ready to return to work.

"She is going to spend some time with her family grieving, how long that will go on is I am unsure at this stage,'' he said.

Standing in for the grieving prime minister during the two-day summit in Vladivostok, Trade Minister Craig Emerson came close to tears as he described talking to Ms Gillard shortly after she got the news.

"Julia's really upset,'' he said.

"Her dad was 83 but he was so proud of Julia and such a loving father to her, so of course she was upset.''

He said world leaders - Mr Putin in particular - were very concerned and asked him to convey their sympathies.

New Zealand Prime Minister John Key and Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa were among those to publicly express their condolences to Ms Gillard on the summit's sidelines.

- AAP

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