JULIA Gillard has landed a new gig with beyondblue.
The former Labor Prime Minister is taking over from Jeff Kennett as chair of the support group.
Kennett, the former Liberal Victorian Premier, hands over the reins at the end of June.
Ms Gillard — who was elected unanimously by the beyondblue Board of Directors — is the first former PM to run a not-for-profit organisation since Malcolm Fraser launched CARE Australia in 1987.
“My father was a psychiatric nurse so I grew up with an awareness of and commitment to mental health causes,” Ms Gillard said in a statement.
“I’m absolutely delighted that Jeff and the board have the confidence in me to take over as chair of an organisation that has made such a difference in the lives of so many Australians, but there is only ever going to be one founder and without Jeff Kennett there would not be a beyondblue at all.”
Mr Kennett has held the position of chair since he founded the organisation in 2000.
“beyondblue is part of my DNA,” Mr Kennett said.
“Outside my family, it has been my most important role.
“I’ll miss it, but I’ll miss it less knowing that in Julia’s hands the organisation will go from strength to strength.”
He said Ms Gillard was “emotionally committed to the cause”, adding her appointment reinforced beyondblue’s fierce bipartisanship.
“beyondblue’s work is motivated by something bigger than politics; it’s about a bipartisan commitment to enhancing the welfare of others and that is an extraordinarily powerful force,” he said.
“Nobody owns beyondblue. It is owned by the community, in particular those living with mental health conditions, their families, friends and colleagues.”
Beyondblue raises awareness of depression, anxiety and suicide prevention.
For more on the organisation see beyondblue.com.au
Originally published as Julia Gillard has landed a new gig