Former prime minister Julia Gillard has been appointed as chairwoman of the national depression initiative beyondblue, replacing former Victorian premier Jeff Kennett.
Ms Gillard, Australia's 27th prime minister, was elected unopposed to the organisation's board of directors and will replace Mr Kennett after 17 years.
Delighted to take over the reigns as @beyondblue Chair from @jeff_kennett - thank you Jeff & the board for your trust and support - JG pic.twitter.com/Ednk2AzjpS??? Julia Gillard (@JuliaGillard) March 21, 2017
Ms Gillard said her father, John, a psychiatric nurse, had helped shape her understanding of mental health and mental health care facilities as a young girl growing up in South Australia.
"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 young Australians, but there is only ever going to be one founder and without Jeff Kennett there would be no beyondblue at all."
Mr Kennett described handing over the reins to Ms Gillard as "the sweetest baton of all time".
"Julia Gillard's influence as a former leader of this country, her warmth and her commitment to the cause make her the ideal person to lead beyondblue when I step down on July 1," Mr Kennett said
Ms Gillard replaced Kevin Rudd as leader of the Labor Party two-and-a-half years into his first term, becoming Australia's first female prime minister in 2010.
A passionate advocate for education, she led the National Disability Insurance Scheme, negotiating with Coalition state governments to make it a reality.
But her term in office, three years and three days, was haunted by how she had replaced Mr Rudd, who remained a popular figure with the public - a point ably exploited by the Tony Abbott-led opposition.
After sustaining continued attacks in parliament and public, Ms Gillard delivered what is now known as the "misogyny speech', in October 2012, where she angrily declared in parliament: "I will not be lectured about sexism and misogyny by this man".
The speech made international headlines and shone a spotlight on Ms Gillard's treatment, which included critics highlighting Ms Gillard's relationship and family choices, and her appearance.
It came after Mr Abbott gave a speech to a protest rally standing in front of 'ditch the witch' and 'Ju-liar Bob Brown's bitch' signs.
In September 2012, 2GB broadcaster Alan Jones addressed the Sydney University Liberal Club and was recorded telling the crowd "the old man [Ms Gillard's father] recently died a few weeks ago of shame". Mr Jones, who had previously told his radio audience the then-prime minister should be "put into a chaff bag and thrown into the sea", apologised after the comments were made public.
The following year, a Brisbane restaurant owner published a mock menu at a LNP fundraiser at his venue, which made crude references about Ms Gillard's body.
Ms Gillard announced her resignation from politics the day after losing a leadership spill to Mr Rudd ahead of the 2013 election, which saw the Coalition romp to victory.
She has spent her time since leaving the public spotlight as an honorary visiting professor at the University of Adelaide and published a memoir of her time in politics, called My Story in 2014, in which she addressed the scrutiny she was subjected to.
Last year, she addressed the sexism and harassment she faced while prime minister, while lending her support to Hillary Clinton's presidential bid. Writing an opinion piece in the New York Times, Ms GIllard said Ms Clinton's experience had been buffeted by "the curious question of gender".
"She knows what it's like to be the subject of the stereotype that a powerful woman cannot be likable, that if she is commanding then she must be incapable of empathy," Ms Gillard wrote.
Known for being media-shy, Ms Gillard has also spent a considerable amount of time overseas since leaving domestic politics, and was appointed chair of the Global Partnership for Education in 2014, the same year she joined the board of beyondblue.
"I understand that there are people in the Australian community who have got differing views about my period as prime minister," she said on Tuesday.
"But one thing I think the Australian community hungers for, is a spirit of bipartisanship, that there are some things where all sides of politics, people from all value sets and prospectives, should come together to try and get something done.
"I think Jeff and I, for beyondblue, are an embodiment of that spirit, an issue like mental health and mental wellness, that is beyond partisan politics and day-to-day coming going, but something that everybody is concerned about and wanting to see us as a nation do better on."
Ms Gillard will become the first former prime minister to lead a not-for-profit organisation since Malcolm Fraser launched CARE Australia in 1987.
- with Tom McIlroy
The story Former prime minister Julia Gillard named as beyondblue chair, replacing Jeff Kennett first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.