Former senior cabinet minister and Liberal Mr Christopher Pyne has been elected as chair of Vision 2020 Australia – the latest in a string of appointments since he retired from federal politics last year.
The position strikes a personal note for Pyne whose father Dr Remington Pyne was an eye specialist instrumental in creating the first National Trachoma and Eye Health Program, allowing him to witness the life-changing effects of sight restoration.
Pyne had a 26-year parliamentary career in which he rose through the Liberal ranks to the post of defence minister before departing politics prior to the 2019 election. He was the youngest person (25) elected to office when he won the Adelaide seat of Sturt in 1993.
As chair of Vision 2020 Australia chair, he succeeds his former parliamentary colleague Ms Amanda Vanstone AO, whose six-year tenure recently concluded.
Since his retirement from politics, Pyne has combined roles as chair of corporate strategic advice firm Pyne and Partners and a Professor in the University of South Australia’s Business School with other appointments, including directorship of the International Centre for Democratic Partnerships, as well as its Foundation.
Before entering politics, Pyne practiced as a solicitor, and is also a media commentator and a published author – with his most recent book, The Insider, released in June this year.
“It is an honour to be joining the board of an organisation of such importance to the health and wellbeing of Australians,” he said. “I thank Amanda Vanstone for her significant contributions during her six years as chair and look forward to building on these.”
Expertise, energy and enthusiasm
Through his father’s work, Pyne said he had seen firsthand the importance of protection and restoration of sight – especially to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
“Fixing people’s vision and giving them the capacity to see the world around them is one of the great things a person can do to help others and I’m pleased to have this opportunity to contribute to this significant work,” he said.
Vision 2020 Australia CEO Ms Judith Abbott said the organisation was fortunate to have a board chair of Pyne’s calibre.
“His expertise, energy and enthusiasm will help ensure that more Australians have the best vision possible,” she said.
“With the number of Australians living with vision loss forecast to almost double within 10 years, there has never been a more important time to have eminent Australians like Christopher supporting improvements to eye are.”
Abbott thanked Vanstone for her significant contributions to the organisation.
“She steered the board with a consistent combination of laser-like focus and good humour and brought a wealth of knowledge, networks and intellect to the role,” she said.