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Shakeup in Leadership: Home Affairs Secretary Michael Pezzullo Dismissed

  • Politics
  • Monday, 27 November 2023 09:25

"Unprecedented Dismissal: Home Affairs Secretary Michael Pezzullo Sacked Over Covert Lobbyist Dealings

In a groundbreaking move, Home Affairs secretary Michael Pezzullo has been ousted from his position amid revelations of covert dealings with lobbyists and clandestine attempts to wield political influence during the tenures of both the Turnbull and Morrison governments. This marks the first instance of a department head being dismissed for misconduct in Australian history.

Australian Public Service Commissioner, Dr Gordon de Brouwer, revealed on Monday morning that an independent inquiry, spearheaded by Lynelle Briggs, found Pezzullo in violation of the Australian Public Service code of conduct on at least 14 occasions. The unprecedented dismissal sends shockwaves through the political landscape, highlighting the gravity of Pezzullo's actions.

Pezzullo, a formidable figure in Canberra, had served in pivotal roles under successive Labor and Coalition governments, including as deputy chief of staff to former Labor leader Kim Beazley and deputy secretary in the Defence Department during the Howard years. His extensive career saw him become the secretary of the Immigration Department in the Abbott government and later the head of the super-sized Department of Home Affairs in December 2017, reporting to Peter Dutton.

The dismissal comes without financial compensation, as the Remuneration Tribunal altered payout rules last Friday. Despite Pezzullo's significant annual salary exceeding $900,000, he will not receive a payout.

While the Briggs report detailing the misconduct will not be made public due to restrictions under the Public Service Act, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese affirmed the governor-general's decision to terminate Pezzullo's appointment based on the recommendations of Glyn Davis, secretary of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, and Commissioner Gordon de Brouwer.

In response to the dismissal, Prime Minister Albanese expressed gratitude to Lynelle Briggs for her inquiry and acknowledged Pezzullo's full cooperation. The unprecedented nature of this high-profile dismissal underscores the government's commitment to upholding the integrity of public service and sends a clear message about the consequences of breaching the code of conduct at the highest levels of bureaucracy."

In conclusion, the unprecedented dismissal of Home Affairs Secretary Michael Pezzullo sends shockwaves through the Australian political landscape, marking the first instance of a department head being ousted for misconduct. The revelation of covert dealings with lobbyists and secret attempts to influence multiple governments has underscored the gravity of Pezzullo's actions. The move, backed by an independent inquiry led by Lynelle Briggs, reflects the government's commitment to upholding the integrity of public service and holding top officials accountable for breaches of the code of conduct.

Pezzullo's extensive career, spanning roles in both Labor and Coalition governments, adds a layer of significance to his dismissal. The lack of financial compensation, despite his substantial annual salary, emphasizes the severity of the situation. The decision not to make the Briggs report public, in accordance with restrictions under the Public Service Act, leaves the specifics of the breaches confidential.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese expressed gratitude for Lynelle Briggs' inquiry and noted Pezzullo's full cooperation. The dismissal serves as a stark reminder that, even at the highest levels of bureaucracy, accountability and adherence to ethical standards are paramount. As the aftermath unfolds, the dismissal of Michael Pezzullo sets a precedent for the expectations placed on public officials, reinforcing the principles of transparency and integrity within the Australian government.