Ms Vanstone is a lawyer and former South Australian senator who held several ministerial portfolios during her term. After retiring from politics, she served as the Australian ambassador to Italy.
Ms Vanstone is currently the Chair of Vision 2020, Royal Flying Doctors Service and Samstag Museum Advisory Board. In addition to her roles as Chair, she is also Director of the Port Adelaide Football Club, a Board Member of Drinkwise Australia and the Governers Institute of International Trade, and a Member of the Referendum Council on constitutional recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and the Adelaide Festival Board.
Ms Vanstone entered Federal Parliament in 1984 as a Senator for South Australia, at that time the youngest member of the Senate. She was re-elected in 1987, 1993, 1998 and 2004. She served as a Minister in the Australian Government from the 1996 election until January 2007, and except for a period of just over three years as Minister for Justice/Customs, all her Ministerial positions were in Cabinet. She is the longest serving female Cabinet Minister since Federation.
Prior to entering Parliament, Ms Vanstone worked as a legal practitioner. Educated at the University of Adelaide, where she completed both Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Law degrees, she also holds a Marketing Studies Certificate and a Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice.