30 years since first woman was appointed to lead Australian government department

By on 24/11/2015 | Updated on 25/09/2020
Victoria's Auditor-General has left his post.

This month marks the 30th anniversary of the appointment of the first female secretary heading up an Australian government department.

Helen Williams AO was appointed secretary of the Department of Education and Youth Affairs in 1985. She later served as public service commissioner as well as secretary of tourism; immigration and multicultural affairs; communications, information technology and the arts; and human services.

Williams retired from the Australian public service in 2009 after a career spanning nearly 40 years.

Today, there are five female secretaries: Glenys Beauchamp, Department of Industry, Innovation and Science; Kathryn Campbell, Department of Human Services; Lisa Paul, Department of Education and Training; Renée Leon, Department of Employment; and Jane Halton, Department of Finance.


See also: our interview with Jane Halton 

About Winnie Agbonlahor

Winnie is news editor of Global Government Forum. She previously reported for Civil Service World - the trade magazine for senior UK government officials. Originally from Germany, Winnie first came to the UK in 2006 to study a BA in Journalism & Russian at the University of Sheffield. She is bilingual in English and German, and, after spending an academic year abroad in Russia and reporting for the Moscow Times, Winnie also speaks Russian fluently.

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