Movers & Shakers: New defence executives and senior diplomats

By Jackson Graham

Friday October 8, 2021

The latest senior public sector appointments from across the country.

The latest senior public sector appointments from across the country.

Senior Executive Service

Band 1 

Jessica Winnall

The Department of Defence has promoted Karan McKee, Andrew Evers, David Kingston and Simon Atyeo to senior executive roles. 

Tony Amodio

Toby Amodio has moved from the Australian Taxation Office to become cyber security assistant secretary at the Department of Parliamentary Services.

Stuart Henry has moved from the Department of Defence to become branch manager at the Australian Research Council.

Jessica Winnall has moved from the Department of Education, Skills and Employment to become branch manager at the Australian Research Council

Minister appoints four senior diplomats

Julia Niblett is Australia’s next ambassador to Ethiopia.

Julia Niblett

She will also have responsibility for Australia’s relations with the African Union and non-resident accreditation to Central African Republic, Djibouti, and South Sudan.

Niblett is a senior officer with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and worked most recently as director of the department’s NSW State Office.

She has previously served overseas as Australia’s high commissioner to Bangladesh and served also in Bangkok, Paris and Manila.

Daniel Emery is Australia’s next ambassador to Serbia and will also be accredited to Montenegro and North Macedonia.

Daniel Emery

Emery is a Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade officer and was most recently chargé d’Affaires, Australian Embassy, Zagreb.

He has previously served overseas as deputy head of mission at the Australian Embassy in Ankara, and been posted in Seoul and Moscow.

Miles Armitage is Australia’s next Ambassador to Turkey and will also be accredited to Georgia and Azerbaijan.

Mr Armitage is a senior officer with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and was recently Australia’s ambassador to Jordan. 

He has previously served overseas as Australia’s ambassador to Timor-Leste and been deputy head of mission at the Australian Embassy in the Philippines as well as postings in New York and Islamabad. He has served as ambassador for counter-terrorism.

Miles Armitage

Robin McKenzie OAM is Australia’s next High Commissioner to Tuvalu.

McKenzie is an officer with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and was most recently a director in its COVID-19 co-ordination unit. 

In Australia he served as official secretary and chief of staff to the Hon Gary Hardgrave, administrator of Norfolk Island as well as in a number of trade and foreign investment review roles within DFAT. He has previously served overseas in Tokyo and Tarawa.

McKenzie will be the second resident head of mission in Funafuti, following the formal opening of Australia’s High Commission there in 2019.

New chair for agency changing social attitudes

Dr Kate Fitz-Gibbon will chair Respect Victoria along with six government-appointed board members. 

Kate Fitz-Gibbon

The agency formed in 2018 as a recommendation of the state’s Royal Commission into Family Violence.

Gibbon, a previous board member of Respect Victoria,  is the director of the Monash Gender and Family Violence Prevention Centre and has previously served as the chair of the Barwon Centre against Sexual Assault Governance Board. 

Maxine McKew, Hang Vo, Claudia Fatone and Karinda Taylor have joined the board while Rodney Jackson and Liana Papoutsis have been reappointed for a second term. 

Victorian prevention of family violence minister Gabrielle Williams thanked outgoing chair Melanie Eagle and inaugural board members Dr Andi Diamond, Julia Mason and Steve Walsh.

Eagle has been appointed to the Queen Victoria Women’s Centre Trust board.

New institute led by women’s safety and equality advocate 

Brittany Higgins will become the inaugural Visiting Fellow at The Australian National University’s Global Institute for Women’s Leadership,as reported in The Mandarin this week. 

Higgins, who alleged this year she had been sexually assaulted in a parliamentary office while she worked as a political staffer, has been at the forefront of a push to make workplaces safer for women. 

Higgins will contribute to a proposed code of conduct to prevent and respond to abuse, harassment and sexual misconduct in Parliament House and parliamentary workplaces. 

Brittany Higgins

“The 2021 Women’s Safety Summit was a great first step to addressing these challenges. Now more than ever in the midst of growing inequality as a result of COVID-19, it’s important to ensure words are translated into action,” Higgins said. 

“I am committed to ensuring that we are able to harness the momentum kick-started this year to enact real change for Australian women so they can be better served by our major institutions.”

Former prime minister Julia Gillard, who established and now leads the Global Institute for Women’s Leadership was established at King’s College London, said Ms Higgins was “a powerful force for change who had already greatly advanced the national conversation and push for reform in one of the most confronting and urgent issues Australia faces”.

Electricity operator keeps chair

Drew Clarke has been reappointed by energy ministers to Australian Energy Market Operator chair for a second term of four years. 

Drew Clarke

Clarke has led two departments and three agencies in his career, including being secretary of the federal Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism until 2013.  

He is also currently a director of CSIRO and of NBN Co.

He was awarded an Order of Australia in 2016 for distinguished service to public administration and is a fellow of the Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering.

Energy ministers highlighted the standard of Mr Clarke’s performance as chair, and the importance of his continuity after the recent commencement of Daniel Westerman as AEMO’s chief executive in May.

Bishop continues as uni chancellor

Julie Bishop has been reappointed as Australian National University chancellor for a second term for four years, after becoming the first woman to have the position in 2020. 

Bishop was a Liberal Party parliamentarian between 1998 and 2019 and held a range of ministerial positions and was deputy leader of the Liberal Party. 

ANU pro-chancellor Naomi Flutter said Bishop had joined at a time of bushfires and continued to lead the university council and community during the pandemic. 

“As one of Australia’s most impressive public figures, she has helped navigate paths through these stormiest of seas. None of these crises have altered her ambition for our university,” Flutter said. 

Charity chief resigns 

Mission Australia’s chief James Toomey will step down from his role by March next year after four years in the top job.

He has served for 11 years at the organisation and introduced a new strategy with the goal to end homelessness and ensure people and communities in need can thrive. 

“I have been absolutely honoured to serve Mission Australia in my various roles since 2010. Being CEO has been the greatest, most humbling and rewarding role of my career,” Toomey said. 

“Together, we have achieved so much towards our goals of ending homelessness and ensuring people and communities in need can thrive, but I feel that continued journey could be best undertaken with someone new leading it.” 

The charity’s board has started a process to select a new CEO.

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