Movers & shakers: Eight SES appointments at DFAT

By Shannon Jenkins

Friday June 25, 2021

M&S June 25
The latest senior public sector appointments from across the country.

The latest senior public sector appointments from across the country.

Senior Executive Service

Sarah deZoeten

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The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has appointed eight first assistant secretaries: Justin McGowan, Stephen Scott, Sarah deZoeten, Jonathan Kenna, Jason Robertson, Sarah Storey, Kate Logan, and Peter Roberts.

Sebastian Hood has been named general manager at Services Australia.

Sebastian Hood

Jamie Crew has been named national director, tribunal services at the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.

Simon Banks has been appointed first assistant secretary at the Department of Agriculture, Water, and the Environment.

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Belinda Small has been appointed chief operating officer at the Organ and Tissue Authority.

Karen Ploesser has been named national manager at Services Australia.

Do you know a senior public servant who has recently taken on a new role? Email [email protected] to let us know.


Philippa King has been appointed as deputy CEO, digital services and outreach at Austrade, commencing on July 13.

Philippa King

King was most recently executive, government affairs and public policy at National Australia Bank, and prior to that was an adviser to former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull, and former NSW premier Mike Baird.

She has also held numerous roles with DFAT, including ambassador and deputy permanent representative for the Australian Mission to the United Nations, and NSW state director .

Austrade CEO Xavier Simonet announced King’s appointment to staff earlier this week.

“I am very excited Philippa is joining us at this critical time. Her insights into complex political and foreign trade issues, and her track record of influence and collaboration at the highest levels of both public and private sectors, will further strengthen our ability to deliver practical, commercial outcomes that grow Australia’s economic prosperity,” he said.

UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

Australia will nominate Rosemary Kayess for re-election to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD), of which she is currently chair, for 2023-2026.

Rosemary Kayess

Kayess is a senior academic at the University of NSW law faculty — where she has taught international human rights law and anti-discrimination law for the past 15 years — and has lived experience of the challenges faced by people with disabilities.

Kayess first joined the UN committee in 2018. She was elected as vice chair the following year, and was named chair in March this year.

Announcing the nomination, foreign affairs minister Marise Payne noted that the UNCRPD was an important human rights treaty body that monitors implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

“A continued Australian presence on the committee will further strengthen Australia’s efforts on disability inclusion and rights for all people across the world,” Payne said.


Graeme Barden has been appointed executive director of the Australian Industrial Chemicals Introduction Scheme (AICIS), commencing on July 1.

Graeme Barden

Barden was most recently first assistant secretary in the Office of Health Protection and Response in the Department of Health.

Regional health minister Mark Coulton has welcomed Barden to his new role.

“He brings significant technical experience in chemical regulation policy and has previously held leadership roles in the Office of Chemical Safety and the Health Protection Policy Branch of the department,” Coulton said.

Coulton has thanked the inaugural executive director, Dr Brian Richards, who recently retired.

QLD Public Service

Three directors-general have been appointed to lead the Queensland Public Service: Mike Kaiser at the Department of Resources, Dr Graham Fraine at the Department of Regional Development, Manufacturing and Water, and John Lee at the Department of Tourism, Innovation and Sport.

Mike Kaiser

Kaiser has held executive roles with NBN Co, was a partner at KPMG, and was briefly a state Labor MP. He has been acting in the director-general role since January.

Fraine has 27 years’ experience in public policy, program development and service delivery across state and local government. He is currently deputy under treasurer of policy, performance and corporate with Queensland Treasury, and has previously held deputy director-general roles within the Department of Premier and Cabinet and the Department of Transport and Main Roads.

Lee has held chief executive roles across the tourism and sport sectors with Australian Sailing, South Sydney Rabbitohs, Tourism & Transport Forum and Sydney Busses & Transport NSW. Lee is a former director-general of the NSW Department of Premier and Cabinet and Department of Commerce. He has been acting director-general with the department since November.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said each appointee would bring ‘outstanding leadership, experience and energy’ to the state government.

“Directors-general lead a public service committed to delivering the best services and outcomes for Queenslanders and providing the highest standard of impartial, evidence-based advice to their Minister and government,” she said.

“That commitment has never been more important as we continue to navigate the impacts of the global pandemic.”


Jayne Flaherty

Jayne Flaherty has been appointed as executive director of strategic communications at the South Australian Department of Premier and Cabinet.

She was most recently director, communications and engagement at the SA Department of Human Services. Flaherty has previously held roles with the SA Tourism Commission, CEDA, RAA, and Bank SA.

Flaherty previously worked with current DPC head Nick Reade, who departed Bank SA earlier this year to lead the state public service.

The new role was never advertised, according to The Advertiser.

Higher Education Standards Panel

Professor Steve Chapman has been named chair of the Higher Education Standards Panel.

Steve Chapman

Chapman is currently vice-chancellor and president of Edith Cowan University. He will be joined by three new panel members: University of Sunshine Coast vice-chancellor and president Professor Helen Bartlett, University of Wollongong senior deputy vice-chancellor Professor Joe Chicharo, and Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research director Professor Doug Hilton.

Two previous members have also been reappointed: Avondale University College provost and senior deputy vice-chancellor Professor Kerri-Lee Krause, and University of South Australia Office of the Vice-Chancellor director Adrienne Nieuwenhuis.

Education minister Alan Tudge said the panel would provide advice on a range of issues, including transparency in admissions, the quality of online and mixed-mode courses, and the regulatory burden on higher education providers.

“I also want them to ensure that we have appropriate standards in place to support student mental health and wellbeing and to meet the needs of students with a disability,” he said.

“I also want to thank outgoing panel members, including the outgoing Chair Professor Emeritus Ian O’Connor AC, for their service to higher education, which has been much appreciated.”


Andrew Godwin

The Australian Law Reform Commission has appointed Dr Andrew Godwin as team leader and special counsel for the remaining term of the Financial Services Legislation Inquiry, following his secondment from Melbourne Law School.

Godwin will support ALRC president Justice Sarah Derrington and part-time commissioners Justices John Middleton and Craig Colvin in leading the inquiry. The commission said Godwin’s knowledge and leadership have been ‘invaluable’.

“His expertise in corporate practice and academia have provided an essential foundation for the evidence-based approach necessary for effective law reform,” it said.

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