Movers & shakers: human rights commissioner departs

By Shannon Jenkins

Friday July 30, 2021

The latest senior public sector appointments from across the country.
The latest senior public sector appointments from across the country.

The latest senior public sector appointments from across the country.

Senior Executive Service

Celia Perkins

Band 3

Celia Perkins has been appointed as ​​deputy secretary estate and infrastructure at the Department of Defence. She previously held the role of first assistant secretary strategic policy.

Band 2

Nicole Spencer has been named first assistant secretary at the Department of Home Affairs.

Tara Gould

Band 1

Home Affairs has also appointed Sara Vrh as assistant secretary and Susan Drennan as commander.

Tara Gould has taken on a senior finance role at Defence. She has previously worked at the former Department of Human Services and the Department of Finance.


Edward Santow has this week finished his five-year term as Australia’s human rights commissioner, ahead of his commencement as industry professor, responsible technology at the University of Technology Sydney in September.

Ed Santow

Santow was appointed as commissioner in August 2016. His past roles include chief executive of the Public Interest Advocacy Centre, senior lecturer at UNSW Law School, and research director at the Gilbert + Tobin Centre of Public Law.

Commission president emeritus professor Rosalind Croucher said Santow had been a powerful advocate of the institutional voice of the AHRC, particularly through his work in human rights and technology.

“Over the course of his five-year tenure, Ed has challenged and changed the course of human rights and technology in Australia,” she said.

“He leaves a significant and enduring legacy.”

The AHRC noted that one of Santow’s landmark pieces of work has been the recent Human Rights and Technology Final Report.

“It was the culmination of a three-year national initiative with stakeholders across government, business, disability, and technology sectors,” the commission said.

“The report’s recommendations will help ensure that new technologies are developed and used in ways that are inclusive, accountable, and with robust human rights safeguards, and is an example of the exemplary work of Ed to consistently advocate for human rights to be embedded across all fields.”

While the commission’s work can be hard and unpopular at times, it is ‘vital to Australia living out its liberal democratic values’, Santow said.

“The staff of the commission work tirelessly to make our country fairer, safer and more equal,” he said.

“It has been an honour to work shoulder to shoulder with such dedicated and skilful colleagues, and with so many in the Australian community who strive to uphold the human rights of everyone, everywhere, every day.”

Deloitte recruits ex public servants

Former Australian Federal Police commissioner and inaugural leader of the National Bushfire Recovery Agency Andrew Colvin has joined Deloitte as a financial advisory partner in the forensic practice, and is based in Canberra.

Andrew Colvin

Former Service NSW chief technology and security officer Michael Cracroft has also joined Deloitte, as a director for cyber and cloud in its risk advisory services practice.

Colvin retired from the role of AFP commissioner in October 2019 — after 30 years in the service — and led the National Bushfire Recovery Agency from January 2020 until recently.

Ursula Brennan, Deloitte national leader, public sector and public policy, said Colvin’s experience would allow him to help Deloitte’s public sector clients tackle their biggest challenges.

“He is eminent in a wide range of major national and global law enforcement and forensic issues, including financial crime, counter terrorism, anti-money laundering, human trafficking and law enforcement strategy, and highly skilled in public policy, international relations and stakeholder engagement,” Brennan said.

Colvin said he would continue to add value and make a difference while at Deloitte.

“My public sector experience was an amazing journey that allowed me to lead diverse teams to address incredibly complex issues across both law enforcement and disaster relief and deliver the best possible outcomes for Australia and our communities,” he said.

“In this next stage of my career, I look forward to delivering equally positive outcomes for our clients across critical areas such as organisational transformation, conduct, regulatory and financial crime risk, both here in Australia into our region.”

Michael Cracroft

Cracroft, meanwhile, joins Deloitte following multiple roles across NSW government departments. Prior to joining Service NSW in 2018, he worked at the state industry department, and the water and energy departments.

Cracroft said he was excited to join the team at Deloitte.

“My passion for enabling positive change and transformation sits at the apex of supporting organisations and teams to manage cyber security and digital transformation. In this role, I look forward to sharing my experience and insight to scale and support more people, businesses and ultimately communities to navigate the opportunities and challenges we all are facing,” he wrote on LinkedIn.

“I would like to acknowledge the myriad of opportunities and friends I have had in both public sector and private consulting and wish them all the best of luck. I am always happy to connect and support you and the amazing work you do, thank you.”

ADF judge advocate general

Rear admiral Jack Rush has been appointed as judge advocate general (JAG) of the Australian Defence Force, while commodore James Renwick has been named deputy judge advocate general (Navy).

Rush is a former judge of the Supreme Court of Victoria, while Renwick is a former independent national security legislation monitor and an honorary professor at the Australian National University.

Jack Rush

Their appointment follows the conclusion of rear admiral justice Michael Slattery’s term as JAG.

The Law Council of Australia has acknowledged the distinguished service of Slattery and has congratulated Rush and Renwick on their new roles.

“Over the past seven years, while simultaneously undertaking full-time duties as a judge of the NSW Supreme Court, RADM Slattery has performed his functions as JAG with evident distinction, as demonstrated by his annual reports to Parliament,” Law Council president Dr Jacoba Brasch said.

“The JAG and the three DJAGs (one for each armed service) play a vital role in maintaining confidence in the system of military justice established under the Defence Force Discipline Act.

“Military discipline in the armed services is vital both in Australia and on operational service overseas. In view of the creation of the International Criminal Court, an independent and properly operating Australian military justice system, together with the complementary jurisdiction of the civilian courts, ensures that accused Australian service personnel will only face charges in Australian courts and tribunals. The JAG and DJAGs help maintain confidence in the military justice system.”

NSW Digital Identity Advisory Council

The NSW government has appointed experts from a range of sectors to its new Digital Identity Ministerial Advisory Council (DIMAC).

Greg Wells

The DIMAC will advise on the state’s roadmap for digital identity, while ensuring personal privacy and security are protected.

Digital and customer service minister Victor Dominello, who will lead the council, said privacy and trust were the hallmarks of democracy, and would remain at the forefront of service delivery.

“Being able to prove and trust identity digitally is a key foundation for modern society and drives productivity and innovation,” he said.

“The government is implementing a transformational digital agenda, including evolving the Service NSW app and delivery of stimulus such as Dine & Discover vouchers and business support grants. We need to surround ourselves with top experts to remain ahead of the game.”

The DIMAC members are:

  • Victor Dominello (chair), digital and customer service minister,
  • David Elliott, police and emergency services minister,
  • Greg Wells, government chief information and digital officer at the Department of Customer Service,
  • Dr Glenn Lewis, digital identity program manager at the Department of Customer Service,
  • Duncan Anderson, executive director, strategic priorities and identity at NSW Police,
  • Associate professor Sarah Thackway, executive director, epidemiology and evidence, NSW Health,
  • Jonathon Thorpe, general manager, digital identity at the federal Digital Transformation Agency,
  • Robert Frelich, director general, identity management, Employment and Social Development Canada,
  • Professor Atilla Brungs, vice chancellor and president at University of Technology Sydney,
  • Professor David Lacey, managing director and board member at IDCARE,
  • Kate Crous, executive general manager of Everyday Banking at Commonwealth Bank of Australia,
  • Stephen Wilson, managing director of Lockstep Consulting,
  • Malcolm Crompton, founder and lead privacy advisor of Information Integrity Solutions,
  • Margo Stephen, head of Digital ID at Australia Post,
  • John Banfield, CEO of BPAY Group,
  • Victoria Richardson, chief strategy officer at Australian Payments Network Limited,
  • Ric Richardson, entrepreneur,
  • Miguel Carrasco, managing director and senior partner at Boston Consulting Group.


Jon Gorvett

Dr Jon Gorvett has been appointed as deputy chief executive at the South Australian Department of Premier and Cabinet.

He was most recently executive director, intergovernmental and diplomatic relations at the department, and briefly acted in the role of chief executive from November 2020 until February this year.

Gorvett has also served as director, climate change at the state Department for Environment and Water, and in a number of UK government roles.

Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation

Garry Hounsell has been appointed to the role of chair of the Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation Board. He replaces Patricia Cross, who recently finished her seven-year term, and will hold the role until June 30, 2024.

Garry Hounsell

Hounsell has served as a director on the board for the past five years. During that time, he chaired the CSC Audit Committee, and was a member of the Board Governance and Risk committees. He has also been a director of ARIA Co Pty Ltd.

He is currently chair of Helloworld Travel Limited, and a non-executive director and chair of the Audit Committee at Treasury Wine Estates Limited. Hounsell has previously been a chair of Myer Holdings Limited, and chair and non-executive director of Spotless Group Holdings Limited.

CSC CEO Damian Hill said Hounsell has played a key role in defining CSC’s current objectives and the development of its strategy.

“Garry’s experience on the CSC Board will ensure a smooth transition, and a continuation of the important pieces of work CSC is delivering for the benefit of its customers,” Hill said.

Australian Competition Tribunal

John Middleton

Justice John Middleton has been reappointed as president of the Australian Competition Tribunal, until December 25, 2022.

Middleton was appointed as deputy president of the Tribunal in 2009, and president in 2016. He is currently a justice of the Federal Court of Australia, a deputy president of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal, a board member of the Victorian Bar Foundation, part-time commissioner of the Australian Law Reform Commission, a fellow of the Australian Academy of Law and a member of the American Law Institute.

Stadiums Queensland

John Warn, Peter Hyland and Sharon Finnan-White have been named as board members at Stadiums Queensland, commencing this month.

Sharon Finnan-White

Warn is a former chair of the NSW government’s tourism agency, Destinations NSW, and of Cricket NSW. He is currently chief operating officer at hotel group Accor Pacific.

Hyland’s experience spans Australia, the Asia Pacific, Europe and the Middle East. He is a life member of the Property Council of Australia, a member of the Urban Land Institute, and recently returned from Singapore, where he worked as regional director of urban development specialist Cistri.

Finnan-White is an Aniwan and Biripi woman based in Townsville, who won a Commonwealth Games medal for netball in 1990 and two World Championships in 1991 and 1999. Earlier this year she was announced as a member of the inaugural Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Committee for Netball Queensland.

Sport minister Stirling Hinchliffe said the new members would strengthen the board with their experience.

“Managing Queensland’s stadiums is complex, and I am thankful we have been able to attract talented professionals to the Stadiums Queensland board,” he said.

“The expertise of a strong Stadiums Queensland board is critically important following the International Olympic Committee vote to hold the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Brisbane.”

The new appointees replace retiring members John Grant, Greg Webb and Therese Smith, and join Amanda Shircore, Brendan O’Farrell and Sharron Caddie on the board.

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