New governor-general to bring focus on ‘care, kindness’

Andrew Brown |

Australia’s newest governor-general has vowed to bring kindness, care and respect to the role during testing times.

Sam Mostyn, who was sworn in as Australia’s 28th governor-general during a ceremony in Canberra on Monday, said she would aim to bring a sense of modernity to the position as the King’s representative.

“These testing times call for an unstinting focus on kindness, on care and on respect,” she said after being sworn in.

Sam Mostyn at a smoking ceremony.
Sam Mostyn says she will be an optimistic, modern and visible governor-general. (Lukas Coch/AAP PHOTOS)

“I will be an optimistic, modern and visible governor-general, committed to the service and contribution that all Australians expect and deserve from the holder of this office.”

The businesswoman, gender equality advocate and former AFL commissioner was sworn in on the floor of the Senate by High Court Chief Justice Stephen Gageler.

The swearing-in ceremony started with military fanfare, before an Indigenous smoking ceremony out the front of Parliament House.

Born the eldest of four sisters in Canberra to an army officer father, Ms Mostyn began her professional life as a lawyer, working as an associate in the NSW Supreme Court of Appeal.

She briefly worked as a communications advisor to former prime minister Paul Keating in the 1990s before serving on the boards of companies such as Transurban, Virgin Australia and Citibank Australia.

In 2005, she was appointed as the first female commissioner of the AFL and was a driving force behind establishing the code’s women’s league.

She has also served on non-profit boards including the Climate Council, Beyond Blue and the Sydney Theatre Company and spent time leading the Women’s Economic Taskforce.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and new governor-general Sam Mostyn.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese says Sam Mostyn “represents the best of modern Australia”. (Lukas Coch/AAP PHOTOS)

Ms Mostyn said she would look to bring the levels of care and respect she had seen through the different aspects of her career to the role of governor-general.

“Care is that gentle thought and the outstretched hand that Australians have always been ready to share when great challenges present themselves, care is the quieter, better part of ourselves,” she said.

“(Australians have) also reminded me that the role of governor-general is not simply to be an observer of an Australian life, but to be a participant. To reflect the Australian character and its fundamentally democratic spirit.”

Sam Mostyn being sworn in.
Sam Mostyn was made governor-general following the prime minister’s recommendation to King Charles. (Lukas Coch/AAP PHOTOS)

Ms Mostyn was appointed to the position following the prime minister’s recommendation to King Charles.

Serving as the representative of the monarch in Australia, the governor-general usually serves a five-year term.

She has taken over from David Hurley, who was governor-general from 2019.

While she said Australia had faced its share of great difficulties, from climate change to the cost-of-living crisis, to the effects of the COVID pandemic, Ms Mostyn said she had hope the country would be able to meet the challenges together.

“Yet in 2024, it’s true contemporary challenges are placing strains on that confidence. Many Australians expressed concerns about the global political environment and the range of conflicts around the world at this time,” she said.

“Yet despite all these challenges, I will always feel tremendous optimism for Australia.”