Jenny Gale makes history

By The Mandarin

March 26, 2018

Jenny Gale

Tasmanian Premier Will Hodgman has filled in the vacancies at the top level of the state’s public service, and promoted two women in the process.

There have been vanishingly few women who have risen to lead an Australian state public service. Robyn Kruk. Helen Silver. Kathy Leigh.

Jenny Gale now joins those ranks after being appointed on Friday to the position of secretary of the Department of Premier and Cabinet.

The appointment is not a surprise, as Gale — who was secretary of the Department of Education — was asked to act in the role following the sudden resignation of Greg Johannes last year.

Two more secretary position will also be filled by the person acting in them.

The Department of Education secretary role goes to Tim Bullard, who was a DPAC deputy secretary before joining the Education department to head its strategy and performance branch.

Kathrine Morgan-Wicks fills the vacancy of secretary of the Department of Justice, created when Simon Overland resigned last year (and took up a role running a local government in Victoria). Morgan-Wicks was previously a deputy secretary at the Department of Treasury and Finance.

Over at TasRail, the chief executive role is being handed from Damien White to his current chief financial officer, Steven Dietrich.

The appointments were held until after the election, following Hodgman’s criticism of his predecessor Lara Giddings for making appointments too close to an election. Hodgman tore up contracts made immediately before he took office and blamed Giddings for the $843,685 payout.

In a statement, Hodgman paid tribute to his incoming top mandarin:

“Ms Gale has outstanding leadership credentials and experience, having worked in a number of senior leadership roles in her 37-year career including as the Secretary of the Education Department, and as the Deputy Premier’s Chief of Staff.

“Ms Gale is the first female in well over a decade to have led the public service and I look forward to working closely with her across the next term of Government as we deliver on our plans for Tasmania.”

The state public service is still dealing with accusations it has allowed a culture of nepotism to take hold, following last year’s report from the state auditor-general. It was not the first report to make claims conflicts of interest were not being appropriately handled, and local media claimed it angered the premier. Johannes resigned shortly after.

 

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