Movers & Shakers, Government | May – June, 2022

Clare O’Neil
Newly appointed Minister for Cyber Security and Minister Home Affairs, Clare O’Neil
The newly elected Albanese Labor Government unveils its first ministry, committing to a key election promise on cyber; DTA appoints new CTO; and AusPost tech GM bids farewell.

– The newly elected Albanese Labor Government has announced a number of tech and innovation-focused appointments to its cabinet, including the creation of a standalone Minister for Cyber Security – a key election promise by Labor.

Clare O’Neil will take the reins as Australia’s first dedicated Minister for Cyber Security. Alongside the cyber ministry, O’Neil will also step in as a surprise appointee to lead the Home Affairs portfolio.

O’Neil served as Shadow Minister for Senior Australians and Aged Care Services during the final year of the Morrison Government. She is, however, no stranger to a tech portfolio, having served as Shadow Minister for Innovation, Technology and the Future of Work between June 2019 and January 2021.

Tim Watts, who was Labor’s Shadow Assistant Minister for Cyber Security and Communications, has been appointed Assistant Minister for Foreign Affairs.

Under the previous Coalition government, responsibility for cybersecurity generally fell under the purview of the Home Affairs ministry, headed by Karen Andrews, while cyber priorities handled by the Australian Signals Directorate were overseen by Assistant Defence Minister Andrew Hastie.

Meanwhile, Ed Husic, known for keen advocacy of the tech and innovation industries, will become Minister for Industry and Science. Husic makes an easy transition to the industry portfolio, having most recently served as Shadow Minister for Industry and Innovation.

Meanwhile, former opposition leader Bill Shorten will maintain his role (previously only in Shadow) as Minister for the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) and the Minister for Government Services. The latter Ministry was previously led by Linda Reynolds, who succeeded Stuart Robert in the job last March.

As the newly appointed government services minister, Shorten has already promised a full audit of the myGov citizen services portal – the entry point for ATO, Centrelink, and Medicare online services.

Last month, then Opposition leader now Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said the citizen services platform was “not up to scratch”, vowing a “review myGov, and [to] make improvements where necessary”.

Michelle Rowland has been appointed Minister for Communications, after serving five years as communications shadow, with notable oversight of the national broadband (NBN) scheme.

Brendan O’Connor has been appointed Minister for Skills and Training, likely bearing responsibility for Labor’s pledge to create 340,000 new tech jobs by 2030, while Katy Gallagher will become Minister for the Public Service, in addition to Minister for Finance.

“This is an exciting team,” Prime Minister Albanese said during the cabinet announcement. “It’s a team which is overflowing with talent, with people absolutely committed to making a difference as ministers and assistant ministers in my government.”

Albanese further declared his new ministry as “the most experienced incoming Labor Government in our history since Federation”.


– The Federal Government’s Digital Transformation Agency has appointed Andrew Morrison as Chief Technology Officer.

Morrison most recently served as Chief Digital Officer at the Queensland Department of Communities, Housing, and Digital Economy (DCHDE) – a position he held for three years. During this time, he noted he was “including the state’s QR code check-in app, Check in Qld, as well as the state’s online border entry pass.

Prior to joining the DCHDE in July 2019, Morrison spent two-and-a-half years at its predecessor, the Department of Housing and Public Works, as Director of QLD Online, leading p. He also served twice as Acting Chief Information Officer.

The DTA has also made a number of promotions to individuals currently in interim roles. Most notably, Wayne Poels has been appointed General Manager for Investment – Advice, Contestability, and Assurance.

As part of the role, Poels will take oversee the DTA’s role in the budget process, investment approval conditions and delivery assurance.

Alongside Morrison and Poels’ DTA appointments, Brendan Reilly, Jamie Whitcombe, Lisa Jansen, and Doug Rutherford will officially step up as branch managers at the agency.


– NSW’s Department of Planning and Environment (DPIE) has appointed Bianca Wirth as Chief Information and Security Officer (CISO) of its newly former cyber arm.

Wirth most recently served as gaming services provider Tabcorp’s Deputy Chief Information Security Officer.

“I’m beyond thrilled to share that I’m starting a new position as CISO at NSW DPIE,” she wrote on her LinkedIn page.

Wirth further noted that her new team has roles on offer “across the cyber spectrum” to support its “growing cyber program of work”, including a new Senior Cyber Security Analyst position.


– The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has appointed Ramsey Beydoun as Assistant Commissioner, Data Engineering.

Beydoun has served nearly a decade with the ATO, most recently as Leader of the JobKeeper Data & Analytics team.


– The Federal Government’s Department of Parliamentary Services (DPS) has promoted James Lawson to Assistant Secretary, Digital Customer Services.

Lawson has served more than seven years at the Department, most recently as interim Assistant Secretary, Digital Customer Services. During this time, he oversaw cloud transformation, infrastructure, core service delivery, enterprise architecture, and application development.

Previously, Lawson served as Director, Foundation ICT at the DPS, leading ICT service delivery and cloud enablement.


– Australia’s chief scientific research agency, the CSIRO, has appointed Dharmini Robertson as the new Science Counsellor to the United States and Canada.

Robertson will be based at the Australian embassy in Washington DC during her three-year term, serving as a conduit of engagement between Australian Government departments and North American government ministries, industry, and researchers.

Robertson was previously Director for Low Emissions Technology Strategy at the Department of Industry, Science, Energy, and Resources between October 2021 and May 2022.


– Anita Matuszewski has departed from her role as General Manager of Technology for Channels and Sales at Australia Post, after having served in the position for more than five years.

Matuszewski announced her departure via her LinkedIn page, noting that it was a “privilege to lead an awesome technology team that pushed all boundaries to deliver better experiences for our staff and customers in the past eight years”.

Matuszewski initially joined Australia Post in 2014 as Head of Technology for Retail Services.

She added that she was “excited to continue my journey in retail and look forward to the next chapter in my career”.