Movers & Shakers: AG makes appointments, senior Defence official new uni body deputy

By Jackson Graham

Friday October 22, 2021

The latest senior public sector appointments from across the country

The latest senior public sector appointments from across the country

John Love

Senior Executive Service

Band 1

John Love has been promoted in the Defence Department to SES Band 1 position, assistant secretary work health and safety.

Businesswoman leads national science agency

The new chair of the CSIRO is Kathryn Fagg AO, in a move that marks women being at the helm of three of the nation’s leading science agencies.

Fagg has served as deputy chair on the CSIRO board and has been appointed in the new role for five years. 

Previously, her experience ranges from being on the Reserve Bank of Australia board and senior executive roles across industries in Australia, New Zealand and Asia.

Kathryn Fagg

The appointment means the Australian Institute of Marine Science, the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation and the CSIRO are all chaired by women simultaneously for the first time. 

Science and technology minister Melissa Price said Fagg brought stability and direction to the CSIRO. 

“As a passionate advocate for gender equity, Ms Fagg is a Women in STEM champion and a mentor for young women seeking to pursue a career in science, technology, engineering or mathematics,” Price said. 

Fagg replaces departing chair David Thodey AO. Board member David Knox has taken over Ms Fagg’s role as deputy for four years. Former Liberal industry and science minister Ian Macfarlane has been appointed as a new board member for a three-year term. 

Senior diplomatic appointments 

As reported in The Mandarin this week, Australia’s next ambassador to the European Union is Caroline Mill.

The experienced diplomat will also serve as ambassador to Belgium, NATO, and Luxembourg. 

Fiona McKergow

The government has made two further diplomatic appointments this week, including Fiona McKergow as Australia’s next high commissioner to Cyprus, and Dr Genevieve Clune as Australia’s next ambassador to Estonia. 

McKergow, an officer with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, was formerly the director of the Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan section. 

Previously, she has served overseas as acting consul-general in Kolkata, India. 

Her roles at the department in Canberra have focused on Indo-Pacific policy and development, including on geo-economic issues in South Asia and Australia’s step-up strategy for the Pacific. 

Prior to joining DFAT she worked on climate change policy and agriculture trade policy. 

She is replacing outgoing high commissioner Samuel Beever, who held the Cyprus post since 2018. 

Clune replaces ambassador Kerin Ayyalaraju, who served in Estonia for the past three years. 

Clune’s career at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade spans counsellor in Bangkok and second secretary in Paris, with short-term missions in New Delhi, Warsaw, Nairobi and Baghdad. 

In Canberra, she has held policy roles including as an adviser in the office of the foreign minister.

Peak university body appoints career public servant

Senior Defence official Peter Chesworth will be the next deputy chief executive at Universities Australia and the leader of its policy team. 

Chesworth, who is currently Defence’s first assistant secretary ministerial executive co-ordination and communication, has also held roles in the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science, and a range of ministerial offices. 

Universities Australia chief executive Catriona Jackson said Chesworth’s policy expertise and experience in the public sector made him ideal for the role.

“I have no doubt he will make a significant contribution to the success of the sector and our members,” Jackson said. 

He replaces Anne-Marie Lansdown, who retires in November.

Attorney-general makes appointments 

Michelle Baxter

Australia’s attorney-general has made a string of appointments in the past week, including approving Safe Work Australia chief executive Michelle Baxter’s role for another two years.

Baxter has served in the role since November 2013. Formerly, as a senior public servant, she managed the asbestos management review, WHS and workers’ compensation matters, and the Office of the Federal Safety Commissioner.

During the COVID-19 outbreak, the national cabinet made Safe Work Australia the central source of WHS guidance on COVID-19 risks in the workplace. 

The attorney-general appointed Julie Kearney, Caroline Jenkins, Samantha Murdoch, Vivien Carty, John McGinn, and Sophie Given as judges of the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia. 

Penelope Kari, Grant Riethmuller, Michael Jarrett, Peter Campton and Suzanne Christie have been appointed judges of the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia. 

The Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia Newcastle Registry has two new judges: Vivien Carty replacing Janet Terry, and Julie Kearney as an additional judge. 

Stewart Milner

Principal to lead state’s new academy for brightest

Stewart Milner will lead Victoria’s new Centre for Higher Education Studies as its founding principal.

The academy is due to open in 2023 in South Yarra for high-achieving Victorian state school students to study university subjects and VCE extension programs.

Milner has worked as a teacher and principal for over 20 years – most recently as principal of Coburg High School, and as Assistant Principal at Suzanne Cory High School in Werribee.

He has a track record of driving innovation in education and led the establishment of several university partnerships that have provided extra opportunities to staff and students. 

WA appointments 

Professor Peter Klinken has been reappointed chair of both the Lotterywest and Healthway boards for a further three years.

Peter Klinken 

Klinken is presently the chief scientist of Western Australia and has served as chair of both boards since October 2018 following the decision to better align Lotterywest and Healthway.

Meanwhile, Jo Gaines is the next chair of the Government Employees Superannuation Board, the fund for WA public sector employees.

Gaines is an experienced leader and strategic policy director and replaces John Langoulant, who has been appointed as the agent-general for WA in the UK and Europe.

Nicole Lockwood has been appointed Infrastructure WA chair, and Terry Agnew as deputy chair while Rebecca Tomkinson has joined the board. 

Lockwood has been deputy chair since the advisory body’s establishment in 2019 while Agnew is also an inaugural board member. Tomkinson is chief executive officer of the Royal Flying Doctor Service in Western Australia. 

Chief justice resigns

Catherine Holmes

Queensland chief justice Catherine Holmes has announced she is retiring from the bench.

Holmes was admitted as a solicitor of the Supreme Court of Queensland in 1982, and as a barrister in 1984. 

She was appointed to the Bench of the Supreme Court in 2000, and she was appointed a Judge of the Queensland Court of Appeal in 2006. 

She conducted the Queensland Floods Commission of Inquiry following the devastating 2020-11 flood season, and she was counsel assisting the Forde Commission of Inquiry into Child Abuse in 1998-99.

She has served six years as chief justice.

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