Movers & shakers: board appointments galore

By David Donaldson

Thursday April 18, 2019

We thought the last movers & shakers was a bumper pre-election edition, but this one’s even bigger!

A new disability discrimination commissioner, a Defence deputy secretary, five assistant secretaries at AG’s, and a raft of board appointments.

Human Rights Commission

Earlier this month, Ben Gauntlett was appointed as the new Disability Discrimination Commissioner at the Australian Human Rights Commission for a five-year term.

Gauntlett has extensive legal experience as a barrister in Victoria and Western Australia, has worked in dispute resolution at Freehills, and has lived experience with disability.

This fills the vacancy created by Alastair McEwin‘s appointment as Commissioner for the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability.

He will commence the role on 7 May. In the interim, the commission’s president Rosalind Croucher is acting commissioner.


Sue Weston PSM has commenced as CEO of Comcare for a five-year term. Weston had held the job of deputy secretary at the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science since 2009. Read the full story here.

Commonwealth senior executive appointments

Band 3

Peter Tesch has been named as Defence Deputy Secretary Strategic Policy and Intelligence, moving across from his position as Ambassador to Russia and eight other neighbouring countries. Tom Hamilton has been acting in the role.

Band 2

Toni Pirani has been appointed Official Secretary at the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability. Previously she was assistant secretary at the Attorney General’s Department, and CEO of the Banking Royal Commission.

Band 1

Five people have been promoted to Assistant Secretary at Attorney General’s: Paul Cronan, Michael Johnson, Sara Samios, Ariane Hermann and Ayesha Nawaz.

Nicolle Johnston has been promoted to Branch Manager, Online Services Development & Engagement at the Department of Jobs and Small Business.

Anthony McGregor moves up at the Department of the Environment and Energy to Assistant Secretary.

David Waymouth is the new Program Manager, National Data Acquisition Centre at the Australian Bureau of Statistics in Geelong.

Stuart Girvan moves from the ABS to Education to be Chief Information Officer, Digital and Business Transformation Branch. He replaces Mark Sawade, who departed in January.

Sally Harris is leaving Prime Minister and Cabinet for Human Services, where she will be National Manager, Internal Communications.

Marie Illman has been promoted at Industry, Innovation and Science to the position of General Manager.

Jennifer Cotton has been appointed Assistant Secretary, Primary Claims & Deputy Commissioner Victoria at Veterans’ Affairs, moving across from Human Services.

Gemma Smith is being promoted at IP Australia to General Manager — People and Communication Group.

Stephen Campbell has been appointed General Manager and Chief Information Officer at the Office of the Parliamentary Counsel, moving across from the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission.


Tax lawyer Karen Payne has been appointed the next Inspector-General of Taxation, an office which recently took on the additional title of Taxation Ombudsman. You can read more here.

Foreign Affairs

Dr Geoffrey Shaw has been named as Australia’s next High Commissioner to Pakistan. Shaw is a senior career officer with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and was most recently Ambassador, People Smuggling and Human Trafficking.

Geoffrey Tooth is Australia’s next Ambassador to Afghanistan. Tooth is a senior career officer with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. He was most recently Assistant Secretary, ASEAN and Regional Architecture Branch.

Dominic Trindade is Australia’s next Consul-General in Shanghai. Trindade is a senior career officer with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and was most recently Assistant Secretary, Services Investment and Intellectual Property Branch. The Consulate-General covers five provinces with a combined population of over 320 million.


Alison Larkins has returned to the job of deputy secretary social policy at the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. Read the full story here.

Australian Competition Tribunal

Professor Caron Beaton-Wells has been named as a lay member of the Australian Competition Tribunal for a period of five years.

Professor Beaton-Wells was previously director of the Competition Law and Economics Network and the Global Competition and Consumer Law Program at the University of Melbourne. She was a member of the Victorian Bar between 1997 and 2016.

The tribunal is an independent statutory body that hears applications to review authorisation decisions made by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and decisions of the minister or the ACCC on access to nationally significant monopoly infrastructure.


Janette Dines is the new Student Identifier Registrar, overseeing the operation of the Unique Student Identifier nationally.

She replaces Jason Coutts, who has been in the job since 2015.

The government is expanding the USI initiative from vocational to all higher education, replacing the Commonwealth higher education student support number currently provided to higher education students.


Data61, the CSIRO’s data science arm, has appointed two new members to its executive team.

John Sukkar joins as Engineering & Design Director, and Dr Karen O’Connor as Digital Missions Director.

Sukkar joins Data61 after eight years at Microsoft, where he was principal lead program manager. He will lead the engineering and design program, which accelerates the transfer of research and technology into real-world solutions.

O’Connor leads digital missions, a program designed to bring together research, industry and government collaborators to develop and deploy data and digital technology platforms to meet large scale digital challenges. She joins Data61 following a long-standing career with Defence Science and Technology, most recently as the science portfolio director, where she led the delivery of the $730 million next generation technologies funds.

WA Mental Health Commission

Western Australia’s Mental Health Commissioner Timothy Marney has resigned from his role after five years leading the Mental Health Commission.

“During his time as commissioner, Mr Marney has been instrumental in significantly improving the way the state government delivers mental health services across the State. Mr Marney has decided to leave his position to achieve a better balance between work and life,” said Mental Health Minister Roger Cook in a statement.

“One of Mr Marney’s many accomplishments is the development of the 10-year plan for mental health and alcohol and other drug services; this is the roadmap for service development in Western Australia. He has also built the Mental Health Commission as an organisation, equipped with the right people and relationships to successfully implement the 10-year plan.”

Marney will depart his post on June 14.

Arts Centre Melbourne

Social entrepreneur Ian Carson AM has been named the new president of the Victorian Arts Centre Trust, overseeing the iconic Arts Centre Melbourne.

Carson is currently chair of markets at PWC and is also a trustee of the Melbourne Cricket Ground. He succeeds James MacKenzie who has served as president of the trust since 2015.

The Centre includes Hamer Hall, the Theatres Building and the Sidney Myer Music Bowl and is Australia’s largest performing arts complex.

Federal government panels and boards

Australia Council

Darren Rudd has been appointed as a part-time member of the Australia Council board for a three-year term.

He is currently the head of corporate affairs at Tata Consultancy Services in Australia and has a background in the telecommunications sector in Asia, during which time he had a principal role in establishing an art bank scheme for Chinese art. Rudd also serves on the boards of the State Library of NSW Foundation and the Australia India Business and Community Awards.

National Museum

The federal government has appointed Stephen Byron and reappointed Maureen Plavsic as part-time members of the National Museum of Australia Council for three-year terms.

Byron has been the CEO of Canberra Airport since 1998 and is currently the chair of Canberra Grammar School and a member of the Snow Foundation and Canberra Convention Bureau.

National Mental Health Commission

Three new members have been appointed to the National Mental Health Commission’s advisory board, to strengthen the federal government’s focus on youth mental health and suicide prevention.

The new commissioners are Alan Woodward, Niharika Hiremath, and Dr Elizabeth-Ann Schroeder.

Hiremath’s lived experience with mental illness led to a passion for understanding and reducing the stigma of mental illness, especially in ethnically diverse communities. She works with headspace’s Youth National Reference Group to ensure that young people’s voices are included in the development of new mental health initiatives.

Schroeder is a senior lecturer and senior research fellow in health economics at Macquarie University. She has extensive local and international experience in applied research in the economics of complex public health interventions, including mental health and suicide prevention.

Woodward is a well-known and respected leader in suicide prevention in Australia, having worked for 20 years in crisis support and suicide prevention policy with Lifeline and Suicide Prevention Australia.

Snowy Hydro

The federal government has named two new non‑executive directors for the Snowy Hydro Limited Board.

Karen Moses and Sandra Dodds have been appointed for a term of three and a half years from 1 July. The government has also reappointed Joycelyn Morton and Leeanne Bond for a further two years.

Moses previously served on the board of the Australian Energy Market Operator, as an executive at Origin Energy, and as a member of the expert panel conducting the Independent Review into the Future Security of the National Electricity Market (also known as the Finkel Review).

Dodds is currently on the board of Infrastructure Partnerships Australia and was previously Chair of TW Power Services, CEO Urban Infrastructure Broadspectrum and CEO Asia Downer Group.

Sports Australia

Hugh Delahunty will join the Sport Australia board.

Delahunty was a National Party member of Victorian parliament from 1999 to 2014 and served as minister for sport and recreation and minister for veterans’ affairs.


Dr Michele Allan will be the new chair of the Defence Cooperative Research Centre for Trusted Autonomous Systems.

Allan has held various senior executive and director positions in the food and education sectors.

The Defence CRC for Trusted Autonomous Systems was announced by the Australian government in 2017 under the next generation technologies fund to deliver unmanned platforms that ensure reliable and effective cooperation between people and machines during dynamic military operations.

Social Impact Investing Expert Panel

Michael Traill has been appointed chair, and Amanda Miller deputy chair, of the federal government’s new Social Impact Investing Expert Panel to help foster Australia’s fledgling social impact market. Read more here.

Old Parliament House

Maria Myers AC has been appointed as a part-time member of the Old Parliament House Board for a three-year term.

Myers is currently chair of the Kimberley Foundation and the State Library of Victoria Foundation. She has held positions on a range of corporate, philanthropic, arts and educational boards including The Australian String Quartet, The Nature Conservancy Australia and Loreto College in Ballarat.

Australian Children’s Television Foundation

Ian Booth and Dr Michael Carr-Gregg have been appointed Commonwealth representative members to the Australian Children’s Television Foundation board for three-year terms.

Booth has more than 20 years’ experience in the film industry and is currently the Managing Director of Aura Film Finance. He was previously Chief Executive Officer of ScreenWest, Western Australia’s screen funding and development agency.

Dr Carr-Gregg is a high-profile child and adolescent psychologist and has published 14 books on parenting. He currently chairs the National Centre Against Bullying’s Digital Literacy Sub-committee.

Australian Rail Track Corporation

Rosheen Garnon has been appointed to the Australian Rail Track Corporation board and alongside three reappointed members: Vincent Graham AM, Chris Barlow and Gillian Brown.

National Film and Sound Archive

Former Liberal National MP Ewen Jones has been appointed to as the board of the National Film and Sound Archive for a period of three years.

He was the Member for Herbert from 2010 to 2016 and served on several House of Representatives Standing Committees and the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade.

Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency

Emeritus Professor Joan Cooper has been named as a commissioner at TEQSA for a period of five years.

Cooper has a distinguished record in higher education, having served in senior positions at a number of universities, including the University of New South Wales, Flinders University and the University of Wollongong.

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