Abbott names new chiefs for Health and Attorney General’s departments

Achievements Celebrated in Uruzgan

Prime Minister Tony Abbott has moved to fill two of the Public Service’s most glaring top level vacancies, announcing new heads for the Department of Health and the Attorney General’s Department.

Martin Bowles PSM has been shifted across town from the Department of Immigration and Border Protection to take on the top job at the Department of Health on a five year contract, an appointment that backfills the appointment of Jane Halton to head the Department of Finance.

Meanwhile, the upward trajectory of career diplomat Chris Moraitis PSM has also continued strongly after he clinched the top job at the Attorney General’s Department. The promotion takes Mr Moraitis to Secretary level after a stint of less than at 18 months at Deputy Secretary level at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Previously an adviser to Labor’s former Minister for Foreign Affairs, Gareth Evans, Mr Moraitis’ most recent major posting was as the High Commissioner for Australia to Papua New Guinea between 2006 and 2009. He joined DFAT as a Graduate Trainee in 1989.

He replaces Roger Wilkins whose departure was announced by the Prime Minister in mid-August. Mr Wilkins had served in the role as head of AGD since 2008 and was regarded in some quarters as a potential target for removal by the Abbott government because of previous his private sector work on climate change.

Mr Bowles’ move to Health will not come entirely as a surprise to those familiar with his work in the New South Wales public service as a sought after head of hospitals and area health services.

Prior to his appointment at Immigration, Mr Bowles held Deputy Secretary roles at the Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency and also the Department of Defence.

However his movement has now opened up another top-level hole that needs to be filled in the bureaucracy.

As the Abbott government approaches its first anniversary in government, the Prime minister said that he would “announce arrangements for the position of the Secretary of the Department of Immigration and Border Protection in the near future.”

A successor to Treasury Secretary Martin Parkinson is also still yet to be named.

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