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Customs boss shifts to Department of Immigration secretary

Customs head Michael Pezzullo (pictured) will become the new secretary of the Department of Immigration and Border Protection, Prime Minister Tony Abbott has announced.

And Roman Quaedvlieg, currently deputy CEO of the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service, will replace Pezzullo at the head of that organisation.

Pezzullo has been a Labor staffer and Defence civilian. He advised former foreign minister Gareth Evans and was a deputy chief of staff in Kim Beazley’s office as opposition leader.

He was appointed CEO of Customs in 2013, replacing Michael Carmody. At Defence, he was a deputy secretary of strategy and planning, and had oversight of ministerial support and public affairs. He led the Defence white paper team and was principal author of the 2009 report.

Pezzullo has been heavily involved in the implementation of the government’s Sovereign Borders policy. He was grilled by senators in March over the incident of a Customs ship breaching Indonesian waters and claims of abuse by officials.

He joined the public service as a graduate in 1987, with honours in history from Sydney University. Pezzullo’s Customs bio says he “enjoys being with his family, cricket and rugby league, and reading (anything on military history, strategy, international relations, intelligence, political biography and philosophy, for starters)”.

Pezzullo will serve a five-year term, beginning on October 13. He replaces Martin Bowles, who was shifted to the Department of Health last month. Chris Moraitis was named as Roger Wilkins’ replacement heading the Attorney-General’s Department at the same time.

Quaedvlieg is a former ACT police chief who spent 15 years as a Queensland cop. He was touted as a replacement for Tony Negus as Australian Federal Police commissioner earlier this year; yesterday Andrew Colvin was given the job after acting in the role.

“I congratulate Mr Pezzullo and Mr Quaedvlieg on their appointments,” Tony Abbott said in a statement.

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The Mandarin

The Mandarin staff journalists.