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Former Australian PM Julia Gillard announced as new beyondblue chairman

Former Australian PM Julia Gillard announced as new beyondblue chairman

Julia Gillard is to take over from Jeff Kennett as the chair of the mental health organisation beyondblue when he steps down on 1 July. "I'll miss it, but I'll miss it less knowing that in Julia's hands the organisation will go from strength to strength".

Gillard, Australia's first female Prime Minister, has lived in Adelaide after leaving politics and is an honorary professor in the School of History and Politics at the University of Adelaide.

"Beyond Blue is such an important organization to the Australian community that I do feel a special sense of delight at having been selected to lead", Gillard said.

When Ms Gillard takes over she will become the first former prime minister to run a not-for-profit organisation since Malcolm Fraser launched CARE Australia in 1987.

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"In Julia we have found someone who is emotionally committed to the cause and has the ability to cut through the clutter and drive change for the wellbeing of all Australians".

Gillard's appointment won praise from her former Labor party colleagues, including opposition leader Bill Shorten and his deputy Tanya Plibersek.

She said that growing up with a father who was a psychiatric nurse gave her an awareness of and commitment to mental health causes.

"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.

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Gillard joined the board in 2014 and was unanimously by the directors.

"Ms Gillard brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to her role as Chair given the commitment she made to driving mental health reform during her time as Prime Minister", Ms Collins said.

"In government, I was proud to extend services to help and treat young people battling depression and other conditions".

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