Incoming governor-general Sam Mostyn and Anthony Albanese.
Incoming governor-general Sam Mostyn and Prime Minister Anthony Albanese at Parliament House. Image by Mick Tsikas/AAP PHOTOS
  • politics

Sam Mostyn named as Australia’s 28th governor-general

April 3, 2024

From executive roles at major Australian companies to advocating for women’s economic equality and climate action, the incoming governor-general has had a varied career spanning decades. 

Samantha Mostyn AO will be the second woman to hold the position after the prime minister announced her appointment on Wednesday.

King Charles accepted Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s recommendation to appoint the 59-year-old business and community leader as Australia’s 28th governor-general.

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

She will be sworn in as governor-general in July, taking over from current Governor-General David Hurley.

“I’m deeply honoured by this great privilege and look forward to representing the values, hopes and aspirations of all Australians,” Ms Mostyn said.

“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.”

Dame Quentin Bryce was the first woman to represent the monarchy as governor general and held the position between 2008 and 2014.

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

She described herself as the daughter of an army officer and a beneficiary of the public education system, talking to reporters on Wednesday not far from the old Canberra hospital where she was born.

Ms Mostyn studied arts and law at the Australian National University, starting her career as an associate in the NSW Supreme Court of Appeal.

The same university awarded her an honorary doctorate of law in 2018.

She has been an advisor to former prime minister Paul Keating and sat on the board of companies such as Transurban, Virgin Australia and Citibank Australia, and currently sits on the Mirvac board while chairing AWARE Super.

She’s also served on non-profit boards, including the Climate Council, Beyond Blue and the Sydney Theatre Company, and as president of Chief Executive Women and chair of the Women’s Economic Equality Taskforce.

She was the first woman appointed commissioner of the Australian Football League and was a driving force behind the AFL Women’s competition.

Incoming governor general Sam Mostyn.
 Sam Mostyn looks forward to representing the values, hopes and aspirations of all Australians. Image by Mick Tsikas/AAP PHOTOS 

The governor-general is the monarchy’s representative in Australia and the nation’s highest office.

They serve at the pleasure of Australia’s head of state, typically for a five-year term.

Opposition leader Peter Dutton said Ms Mostyn had been involved in business and sport for a long time and was well-known to many.

“I wish her the very best in her appointment, and also thank David Hurley for his excellent service to our country,” he said in Sydney.

Beyond Blue CEO Georgie Harman said Ms Mostyn had been an effective and passionate advocate for better mental health and suicide prevention. 

“The community will continue to benefit from her compassion and service as she takes on this role as our next governor-general,” Ms Harman said. 

“We will be a better and more inclusive country for it.”

Former Labor prime minister Paul Keating congratulated Ms Mostyn on her appointment.

“This service marked her out as a distinguished communitarian with a complex range of interests,” he said.

“And with those interests, experience.”

Chief Executive Women president Susan Lloyd-Hurwitz said the new governor-general was a “visionary leader”.

“During her tenure, Sam was influential in government advocacy that saw the reinstatement of the single parenting payment, the expansion of Commonwealth paid parental leave and landmark investment in affordable early childhood,” she said.