Diversity and Inclusion Advocate Named Australia’s New Governor-General

She has expressed public opposition to Australia Day, referring to it as “Invasion Day” in past social media posts, which have since been removed.
Diversity and Inclusion Advocate Named Australia’s New Governor-General
Incoming governor general Sam Mostyn and Prime Minister Anthony Albanese at a press conference at Parliament House in Canberra on April 3, 2024. (AAP Image/Mick Tsikas)
Jim Birchall

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has announced that Australia’s new governor-general will be businesswoman Samantha Mostyn, the country’s second woman to hold the position as the King’s representative.

“Sam Mostyn is an exceptional leader who represents the best of modern Australia,” Mr. Albanese said today in Parliament House.

Ms. Mostyn, aged 58, is an Australian businesswoman, philanthropist, and advocate for gender equality and social inclusion.

She is the current chair of the Federal government’s Women’s Economic Equality Taskforce and has held various leadership positions across the corporate, government, and not-for-profit sectors, making significant contributions to advancing women’s leadership and diversity in Australia.

Ms. Mostyn began her career as a lawyer before moving into corporate roles, including positions at Insurance Australia Group (IAG) and Citibank. She has served on the boards of several major companies, including Virgin Australia, Mirvac Group, and Transurban.

She has also been involved in various industry organisations and advisory roles, focusing on corporate governance, sustainability and climate issues, and social responsibility. Notably, she was the first female commissioner of the Australian Football League and played a pivotal role in establishing the women’s league, the AFLW.

In the post-pandemic era, Ms. Mostyn has advocated for the recognition of women in health services, highlighting the importance of valuing their contributions in this sector.

“The pandemic has left women exhausted and deepened their inequality, particularly in the workplace. For too long, the uncelebrated driving force behind our luck has been underpaid, or unpaid, women,” she said.

As a philanthropist, she has supported a range of causes, including Indigenous reconciliation, mental health, and the arts. She has been recognised for her contributions to business and society, receiving awards such as the Australian Financial Review 100 Women of Influence award.

Ms. Mostyn was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia in 2021 for distinguished service to business, community and women.

Australian Governor-General David Hurley (Right) has served since 2019. Prime  Minister Albanese thanked him for his outstanding service. (AAP Image/Lukas Coch)
Australian Governor-General David Hurley (Right) has served since 2019. Prime  Minister Albanese thanked him for his outstanding service. (AAP Image/Lukas Coch)

She will be replacing David Hurley, who has served since 2019 and is moving on as the term of service of a governor-general is limited to five years.

The prime minister paid tribute to Mr. Hurley, who has served since 2019, complimenting his “outstanding” service to Australia over the past five years.

“David Hurley has done his duty with dignity, humility and great respect for the country that he has served and the country that he loves so deeply,” Mr. Albanese said.

“And on a personal note, I thank him for his engagement with me as Prime Minister that we have had a respectful dialogue between the Governor-General and Prime Minister, which is so important for the nature of our democracy. “I wish him and Mrs. Hurley all the very best for the next chapter of their lives together.”

Role of the Governor-General in Australia

The role of the governor-general in Australia is largely ceremonial and symbolic, representing the Australian monarch, currently King Charles III. The governor-general performs various constitutional and ceremonial duties on behalf of the monarch and the Australian government.

These include giving formal approval to bills passed by the Australian Parliament before they become law and summoning, proroguing (suspending), and dissolving the Australian Parliament on the advice of the prime minister.

The governor-general represents the Crown at official functions and ceremonies, both in Australia and overseas, and attends state and ceremonial occasions, hosting visiting dignitaries, and presenting awards and honours.

Ms. Mostyn’s ascent to the position on July 1 follows King Charles’s approval of Mr. Albanese’s recommendation that she be appointed as his representative in Australia.

She said she was honoured by being appointed to the role, and was looking forward to representing the values, hopes, and aspirations of all Australians.

“I will never underestimate or take for granted the expectations that come with high office and I am ready to serve with integrity, compassion, and respect,” Ms. Mostyn said.

“Millions of Australians know this to be true, that being of service is what often provides a person with their greatest happiness and sense of purpose. That is certainly the case for me, and I can think of no greater purpose … than to serve this country I love as governor-general.”

Jim Birchall has written and edited for several regional New Zealand publications. He was most recently the editor of the Hauraki Coromandel Post.