Government House seeking deputy official secretary

By Shannon Jenkins

Wednesday October 2, 2019

Government House, Canberra. Photo by Figgles1 via Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Government House is looking for its Deputy Official Secretary to the Governor-General.

The position — which has also been advertised on the Government House website — calls for a candidate who can foster “an inclusive culture of change and innovation”.

“This position requires a high level of business management and leadership skills with responsibility for the day to day administrative operations of the organisation to support the strategic goals of the office.”

“The successful applicant will have a deep understanding of government, outstanding collaboration and communication skills and ensure that internal governance, planning, policies, and systems enhance the office’s capability and capacity.”

Paul Singer

Stephen Murtagh is currently the acting Deputy Official Secretary. Prior to him, Paul Singer held the role, succeeding the highly regarded Brien Hallett. Hallet was the Usher of the Black Rod in the Department of the Senate until his retirement last year.

A former navy Warfare Officer, Singer is currently the acting Official Secretary. He was appointed in August last year. Mark Fraser was in the role until he became and first assistant secretary for Commonwealth protocol in the Prime Minister’s department (around the same time as Hallet’s retirement). Before Fraser, Stephen Brady held the Official Secretary title, serving the full term of Dame Quentin Bryce as well as the early days of General Sir Peter Cosgrove. Fraser was his deputy.

Mark Fraser

Way back in the early 2000s, Martin Studdert was the Deputy to Official Secretary Malcolm Hazell.

The next successful candidate will have:

  • Evidence of transformational leadership, strategic thinking and building organisational capability,
  • Demonstrated ability to attract, retain, empower and develop a talented workforce, and the ability to promote well being and foster creativity and innovation,
  • Extensive knowledge, proven leadership and continuous improvement in governance, planning, policy and financial operations,
  • A high level of interpersonal and communication skills with recognised credibility in building and maintaining meaningful relationships,
  • The ability to engage successfully with key stakeholders to identify opportunities to achieve outcomes and promote the organisation’s objectives,
  • A track record of building, driving and embedding cultural change and effective change management.

Applications close on 13 October.

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