Movers & shakers: DFAT names new deputy secretary

By Shannon Jenkins

October 16, 2020

The latest senior public sector appointments from across the country.

Senior Executive Service

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Kathy Klugman

Kathy Klugman has been appointed deputy secretary, global cooperation, development and partnerships, at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. She has held a number of senior roles across the public service including leading DFAT’s Pacific division and the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet’s international division. Klugman has also served as high commissioner to Sri Lanka, and in a number of positions overseas.

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Julie Birmingham has been appointed first assistant secretary at the Department of Education, Skills and Employment. She has been acting in the role of first assistant secretary, national reform directions, schools, since January.

Veronica Hancock

Veronica Hancock has been named first assistant secretary at the Department of Veterans’ Affairs.

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Also at Veterans’ Affairs, Simon Hill and Monita Lal have both been appointed to the role of assistant secretary.

Max Willis has been named assistant secretary, pacific, at PM&C.

Julia Hume has been appointed assistant secretary at the Department of Health. She was previously at the Independent Hospital Pricing Authority, where she had worked since 2013.

Diplomatic appointments

A number of diplomatic appointments have been made at DFAT.

Bruce Edwards

Bruce Edwards has been named Australia’s next ambassador to Ukraine, replacing Melissa O’Rourke, who has held the role since 2017. He will also be accredited to Moldova. Edwards has previously served overseas as deputy head of mission in Port of Spain and Beirut, as well as postings in Kyiv and Kabul.

Elizabeth Ward has been appointed consul-general in Hong Kong. She most recently served as first assistant secretary in DFAT’s trade, investment and business engagement division. Ward has also held the roles of chief negotiator in the regional trade agreements division, and first assistant secretary in the office of trade negotiations.

Tiffany McDonald

She has served in Washington, New Delhi and Cairo, and was Australia’s chief negotiator for the Australia-Hong Kong Free Trade Agreement, and for the Trans-Pacific Partnership. She replaces Michaela Browning.

Tiffany McDonald has been named high commissioner to Brunei Darussalam, replacing Nicola Rosenblum. She has previously served overseas in Seoul, London and Jakarta.

Will Nankervis is Australia’s new ambassador to the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN). He was most recently assistant secretary, Indo-Pacific strategy and regional maritime branch at DFAT, and has previously served overseas in the Australian Permanent Mission to the United Nations in New York, and in Colombo. He replaces Jane Duke, who has advanced Australia’s interests in ASEAN since 2016.

Paul Griffiths has been appointed ambassador to Israel. His most recent overseas posting was minister-counsellor in Washington. He has also served in Jakarta, Manila and Seoul. In the private sector, Griffiths has worked for Palantir Technologies in London. He replaces outgoing ambassador Chris Cannan.

Commonwealth Queen’s Counsel

Four senior APS lawyers — Timothy Begbie, Andrew Berger, Leo Hardiman and Peter Quiggin — have been appointed Commonwealth Queen’s Counsel.

Leo Hardiman

Begbie and Berger both serve as senior general counsel, dispute resolution, with the Australian Government Solicitor. For 20 years, Begbie has advised the commonwealth and appeared as counsel throughout Australia in public law matters including in significant civil penalty, law enforcement and national security cases.

Meanwhile, Berger has advised and represented the commonwealth for 25 years appearing in royal commissions, inquests and inquiries and for commonwealth agencies in significant matters in the High Court, the Federal Court and numerous other courts and tribunals.

Hardiman is deputy chief general counsel and national leader, Office of General Counsel with the Australian Government Solicitor, and has advised the commonwealth for more than 30 years in many areas. Quiggin has served as Australia’s first parliamentary counsel, Office of Parliamentary Counsel, since 2004.


Lisa Croft

Lisa Croft has been appointed chief executive officer of the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA). She has been deputy CEO since February 2018, and acting CEO since August, when former CEO Dr Chris Parker returned to the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment.

Agriculture minister David Littleproud said Croft had “successfully navigated and co-led a significant change program for the APVMA”, including the relocation of the agency from Canberra to Armidale, and the improvement of the agency’s performance and efficiency.

Victorian Building Authority

Michelle McLean has become the first woman to take on the role of chief commissioner at the Victorian Building Authority.

Michelle McLean

She is deputy chair of the Country Fire Authority and chair of its Finance, Audit and Risk Committee, and currently serves as a non-executive director on the boards of East Gippsland Water and FrontierSI.

Her other roles have included executive and managing partner of Cornwall Stodart Lawyers, national president of the Australian Legal Practice Management Association, serving on the executive council of the Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and as board member of the Mercy Health Foundation.

Planning Minister Richard Wynne thanked interim chief commissioner Justin Madden for his leadership of the VBA following the retirement of former chief commissioner Dr Owen Donald in January.

McLean said she was “extremely honoured” to be appointed  to the role.

“Construction will play a central role in the economic recovery from coronavirus and the VBA will be there to help keep industry safe,” she said.

Aboriginal Hostels Limited Board

Dr Valerie Cooms

Anthony Ashby has been appointed chair and Dr Valerie Cooms deputy chair of the Aboriginal Hostels Limited (AHL) Board — a commonwealth company that aims to provide safe, culturally appropriate and affordable accommodation for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people around Australia.

A Gamilaraay-Yuwaalaraay man, Ashby is a registered company auditor and chartered accountant, and is currently deputy chair of PM&C’s Indigenous Business Australia.

Cooms is a Nunukul woman from North Stradbroke Island. She is currently chair of the Quandamooka Yoolooburabee Registered Native Title Body Corporate for the Quandamooka People, and has held numerous roles with the commonwealth, including being a full-time member of the National Native Title Tribunal. She is also a director of Indigenous Business Australia.

Indigenous Australians minister Ken Wyatt said the appointments would bring new perspectives and a diversity of skills to the board, and thanked Dr Susan Gordon for her “exemplary stewardship” of AHL over the past five years.

WA Corrective Services

Tony Hassall

Western Australia’s corrective services commissioner Tony Hassall will retire in early December after more than four decades working in corrective services and more than two years in his current role.

Hassall began his career in England as a prison officer, after which he became the governor of one of the largest prisons in Europe, and area manager for Yorkshire and Humberside. In 2015 he joined the then WA Department of Corrective Services as executive director operational support, and was named deputy commissioner, regulation and operational services in 2016.

Under Hassall’s leadership, WA’s Corrective Services has created an Australian-first alcohol and other drug treatment prison for women, transformed the Banksia Hill Detention Centre into a stable facility with a new trauma-informed model of care, and delivered the Helping Hands program during COVID-19 to support community groups, among other things.

Corrective services minister Francis Logan said Hassall would “leave behind a legacy that has changed prisoners’ lives for the better”.


Jeremi Moule

As previously reported, this week saw the resignation of Victorian Department of Premier and Cabinet secretary Chris Eccles. His deputy, Jeremi Moule, has taken on the role in an acting capacity. Prior to his role as deputy secretary, governance policy and coordination, Moule was executive director, strategic communication, engagement and protocol. He has also held a similar role in the South Australian DPC, and was commissioner of the Women’s National Basketball League.

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