Achievement unlocked: PM gives two federal department heads another go

By Stephen Easton

Wednesday September 11, 2019

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Department of Home Affairs secretary Michael Pezzullo and Attorney-General’s Department secretary Chris Moraitis have been reappointed to their respective roles.

“I congratulate them both and look forward to continue working with them,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison said in a short statement on Wednesday evening.

Both are almost at the end of their five-year terms, which is the standard period of employment for the heads of Australian Public Service departments but can easily be cut short by the government of the day.

Chris Moraitis

Pezzullo was chief executive of the former customs service before it merged with the immigration department to form a new organisation, which later transformed into Home Affairs through the addition of new responsibilities related to national security.

Michael Pezzullo

Coincidentally, the creation of the Home Affairs portfolio involved the transfer of some responsibilities from the Attorney-General’s portfolio.

Morrison’s statement added some brief comments on recent roles held by the two public servants.

“Mr Moraitis was first appointed as Secretary of the Attorney-General’s Department on 15 September 2014. Prior to that time, Mr Moraitis served with distinction in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, including as Australian High Commissioner to Papua New Guinea. As Secretary of the Attorney-General’s Department, Mr Moraitis has overseen a range of significant reforms in Australia’s law and justice sector.

“Mr Pezzullo’s term as Secretary commenced on 13 October 2014, prior to which he served with the Department of Defence and Australian Customs and Border Protection Service. Mr Pezzullo has served as the first Secretary of the Department of Home Affairs, the creation of which was one of the largest restructures of Australia’s national security apparatus since Federation.”

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