Martin Parkinson returning to APS?


Rumours swirl of a return of the former Treasury secretary, but in what role? The search begins to find the next secretary of the Department of Communications, but there’s a bigger prize in consideration — with a hitch.

With confirmation that Drew Clarke’s secondment to head up the Prime Minister’s Office is now less the original temporary offer of support, but a permanent appointment for the respected top bureaucrat, the search has begun for Clarke’s replacement as secretary of the Department of Communication.

Heather Smith
Heather Smith

The Fin‘s Rear Window columnist Joe Aston thinks the vacancy could spark a mandarin shake up much larger than just that department, but the head of the APS itself:

“Turnbull’s desire to lure former Treasury secretary Martin Parkinson back to the public service as secretary of Prime Minister and Cabinet always had a hitch: his wife, Heather Smith, is a deputy secretary of that department. It would be neither fair nor workable for Smith to report to her husband, especially given she would (and should) have to be considered for that role herself.

“But with Clarke now secured, the deal could be done, and indeed likely will be: Parko quits the Board of Orica and agrees to helm the APS, and Smith replaces Clarke at Communications…”

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