Albanese takes axe to Coalition-linked senior public servants

The Albanese Government has wasted no time in replacing Coalition-linked senior public servants and department heads.

The Saturday Paper’s Post summarised the changes as follows:

  • Diplomat Jan Adams, Australia’s ambassador to Japan, and former ambassador for climate change under the Rudd government, will replace Kathryn Campbell as Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade secretary (The Conversation).
  • Campbell, who will be moved to a defence role, had been in the job less than a year, after being embroiled in the Robodebt disaster as secretary of the department of social services.
  • Gordon de Brouwer will be appointed as secretary for public sector reform, after helping lead the Thodey review — largely ignored by the former government — that had recommended changes to make the public service more independent.
  • Jenny Wilkinson, a former head of the Parliamentary Budget Office, will become head of the Finance Department (The Mandarin).
  • Experienced state public servant Jim Betts becomes secretary of the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, Communications and the Arts, replacing Simon Atkinson, who was regarded by Labor as too close to the Coalition.
  • The new Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water will be headed by David Fredericks.
  • Albanese will however keep controversial Coalition appointments including Department of Home Affairs secretary Mike Pezzullo, and Department of Health secretary Brendan Murphy (RiotACT).
  • Three of the four new secretaries are women, compared to the former prime minister’s 2019 shake-up, when three of five secretaries sacked were women.

These changes follow the axing of Phil Gaetjens as secretary of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, who was replaced with Professor Glyn Davis earlier this month.

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