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Daryl Quinlivan takes up at Agriculture where Grimes left off

Daryl Quinlivan
Daryl Quinlivan

Daryl Quinlivan has been appointed as the new secretary of the federal Department of Agriculture, nearly three months after his predecessor Paul Grimes was “terminated” as department head.

Starting tomorrow he takes over from Phillip Glyde, who has been acting in the role since Grimes’ departure, and has been placed in the role for a term of five years.

Quinlivan has most recently been the head of office at the Productivity Commission, and before that was deputy secretary of the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy between 2011 and 2013, as well as deputy secretary of the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry between 2005 and 2010.

In a statement Prime Minister Tony Abbott praised Quinlivan’s credentials for the role: “He brings considerable public sector experience and expertise to this position and I congratulate him on his appointment.”

Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce said the appointment of Mr Quinlivan followed a stringent selection process:

“Among a number of career notches in his belt, Mr Quinlivan brings with him 11 years of previous experience in the Agriculture Department, and more recently the Productivity Commission.

“Mr Quinlivan’s experience and knowledge of the agriculture portfolio and the broader public sector will be invaluable.

“I would also like to take this opportunity to sincerely thank acting Secretary Mr Phillip Glyde for his dedication and professionalism over the past three months. In this time, Mr Glyde has very capably overseen the passing of the Biosecurity Bill and progression of the Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper.”

The previous secretary, Grimes, left the job amid a breakdown in the relationship between he and Joyce following controversy around how the department handled of a freedom of information request seeking to determine whether changes to Joyce’s comments in Hansard were requested by his staff without his knowledge, as the minister had claimed.

Paul Grimes
Paul Grimes

In an unusual move, Grimes requested to make an appearance before the Rural and Regional Affairs Senate Estimates committee over the issue. Despite speculation prior to his appearance, Grimes did not reveal anything further.

Joyce said in a statement at the time of Grimes’ departure that, according to a report written on the matter by the Department of Premier and Cabinet, with which Dr Grimes agreed, “a relationship of strong mutual confidence between the secretary and myself was not a realistic prospect.”

Grimes explained the reasons for his departure to his departmental colleagues in an email: “I have agreed that the Minister would be better supported at this time by a new secretary with a different background and set of policy skills.”

Author Bio

David Donaldson

David Donaldson is a journalist at The Mandarin based in Melbourne. He's previously written for The Guardian and Crikey and holds a masters in international relations.