Julia Gillard follows in her father’s footsteps with new job

Beyondblue is a mental health not-for-profit set up by Jeff Kennett in 2000
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Julia Gillard was a lawyer before becoming Australia's first female prime minister.

Julia Gillard is about to do something that’s not been done by a former prime minister since Malcolm Fraser.

Run a not-for-profit organisation, that is. Gillard is taking over for former Victorian premier Jeff Kennett as chair of Beyondblue, the mental health organisation Kennett set up in 2000.

That makes her the first former PM to run a non-profit since Fraser set up Care Australia in 1987, The Australian reported today.

“My father was a psychiatric nurse so I grew up with an awareness of and commitment to mental health causes,” Gillard said, according to The Australian.

She expanded on those thoughts with the ABC.

“That was in the days when mental health wasn’t talked about, when people who were being treated were in hospitals behind high walls, and people didn’t want to talk about it and didn’t want to think about it,” Gillard explained.

“Now we are prepared to talk about our own mental health, we are prepared to talk about anxiety and depression and suicide in our community, we are prepared to face up to the fact that people that need assistance don’t get the help they require when they most need it.”

She said the new role reflected her lifetime of passion for the issue of mental health.

The former lawyer has been working mainly as an academic since quitting politics in August 2013, including as a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, a research group in the US. She released her political memoirs in September 2014 and has been on the Beyondblue board since December that year.

Kennett said the organisation would remain bipartisan under Gillard’s leadership. She will start the new role on July 1.

Do you think Julia Gillard is well-suited to leading a mental health organisation?

  1. Lynda Colwell  

    I think she will do a wonderful job, she shows courage and compassion. It will be great to have such a strong woman at the helm of this very necessary organisation. Congratulations Julia.

    • Wendy  

      I agree with Lynda and am sure she will be brilliant – congratulations Julia!!

  2. Phil_Zurvas  

    I hope Kennett and Gillard are not paid as both receive the tax payers money and should not take that and more tax payers money as a wage for a not for profit orginazation. Otherwise good on em.

  3. Bruce  

    Something else she can bugger up. Just because her father worked as a psychiatric nurse does not give her the knowledge to look after this very valuable organisation.Surely there are far more qualified people who could carry out this role.

    • Deirdre  

      What a stupid comment to make. Julia Gillard is intelligent enough and educated enough to make a roaring success of anything she takes on. If she were still Prime Minster this country wouldn’t be in the complete cock-up that it is at present.

      • Ria Young  

        I agree Deidre, I wish that we had her back as PM. She did a fantastic job under very trying circumstances, and I think she will make a success of this job as well.

        • Maureen Fitzsimon  

          In a hung parliament, she enacted an extraordinary amount of legislation. Her legal and negotiation skills qualify her for the job. The fact that her father worked in this area piqued her interest.

      • Guy Flavell  

        Deirdre, that really was THE funniest comment I’ve seen on Starts at 60
        for ages. We both know that this woman was the worst PM this country
        has ever had to endure. I get depressed even thinking about this ‘walking
        disaster’ leading such a worthwhile and vitally important organisation.

    • Kate Caddey  

      I think Gillard was a measured and thoughtful leader, despite all the hurdles she encountered. Can you imagine Rudd or Abbott having a good crack at something like this?

    • Elaine Henderson  

      Bruce, your stupidity is showing. Go back to bed.

  4. Skip  

    No sorry there will be money or some reward in there somewhere Gillard is like the late Margaret thatcher keeps popping up in the media usually to critisize current policies and goverment instead of crawling into a hole allway want their faces in the media

  5. Susan  

    Yes I think Julia will show strength in her ability to listen, to guide and take Beyondblue into the community to help people that battle these issues on a daily basis. She will stay loyal to the cause.

    • Jack  

      I hope and pray you’re right Susan. I have my doubts though.

  6. Jean McGuinn  

    She would do a brilliant job in whichever area she chooses to work.

  7. Snowwhite  

    I notice it’s mainly men who criticize Julia Gillard. Perhaps they’re jealous because she did such a good job as PM? At least she achieved passing heaps of legislation in her tenure. She will certainly be remembered for her achievements unlike Abbott/Turnbull. Maybe men feel threatened by a strong female leader who actually governed for all Australians.

    • Jack  

      Aah Snowflake’s at it again. Dearie, this dreadful woman virtually sent this
      country to wrack and ruin, backed up by THE worst treasurer in our history.
      Boy, do some people suffer from extreme memory loss !!!

  8. Joan Marshall  

    Anyone who says Julia Gillard did a good job as PM needs to remind themselves if she did such a good job why was she kicked out. I was embarrassed about her when I traveled abroad. I refused to talk about her.

    • Grace  

      And probably a very good thing too. So why are you talking about her now?

    • koalaken  

      Joan sounds like a die hard Liberal. Travelling O/S.
      I am not either Party,
      But Beyond Blue is a great organisation. Hope she does well.

    • Jack  

      Totally agree Joan. She was a bloody disaster for this country and thankfully
      now only a very bad memory.

  9. Trevor Piggott  

    NDIS – We all do remember, don’t we????

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