The secretary of the federal education department, Lisa Paul, is leaving in February to pursue a career outside the public service.
Paul has been a departmental secretary since 2004. Announcing her departure, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said she had made:
… a substantial contribution to the development of education and employment policy in Australia.
It is understood Paul’s decision to quit was entirely her own – she was under no pressure to leave.
The top of the public service is undergoing an extensive shake-up as a result of both the change of prime minister and personal decisions.
Turnbull this week formally announced that Martin Parkinson would become secretary of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet. Tony Abbott had sacked Parkinson from his post of Treasury secretary. Parkinson replaces Michael Thawley, who is leaving the public service.
New secretaries have to be found for the departments of communications, foreign affairs and now education.
Drew Clarke, who headed Communications, has become Turnbull’s chief-of-staff. Peter Varghese leaves Foreign Affairs mid-next year to take over as chancellor of the University of Queensland.