Pezzullo with then Prime Minister Tony Abbott in 2015
|Secretary of the Department of Immigration and Border Protection|
13 October 2014 – 19 December 2017
|Secretary of the Department of Home Affairs|
|Assumed office |
20 December 2017
1964/1965 (age 54–55)
|Alma mater||University of Sydney|
Michael "Mike" Pezzullo is an Australian public servant. In October 2014, he was appointed the Secretary of the Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection. On 20 December 2017, a reshaping of departments led to him taking up the post of Secretary of the Department of Home Affairs. Prior, Pezzullo had been the Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service.
Pezzullo joined the Department of Defence as a graduate in 1987. After five years in the Defence Department, Pezzullo discovered "the experience, age and, to some extent, ideological and almost philosophical gap between [him] and the next level up meant [he] would not advance until [he] became crusty, old and cynical," so in 1992 he transferred to the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, where he worked in the International Division.
In 1993 he joined the staff of the Foreign Minister, Senator the Hon Gareth Evans QC, and remained in Parliament House until December 2001, including as deputy chief of staff to then opposition leader Kim Beazley. In February 2002, he rejoined the Department of Defence, and in 2006 was promoted to the position of Deputy Secretary Strategy in that department. Between February 2008 and May 2009 he led the Defence White Paper team and was principal author of the 2009 Defence White Paper.
In July 2009 Pezzullo joined the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service as chief operating officer, a role which he continued in until September 2012. He was promoted to acting chief executive over the period September 2012 to February 2013 and on 15 February 2013 was employed as the substantive CEO. When appointing Pezzullo, then Home Affairs Minister Jason Clare told media that Customs required major structural change, and Pezzullo had been appointed to drive reforms. In the role, Pezzullo emphasised the importance of border security not only as a security issue, but also as an economic concern.
On 2 October 2014 the Prime Minister Tony Abbott announced that he had made Pezzullo the new Secretary of the Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection, effective 13 October 2014, replacing Martin Bowles. As Immigration Secretary, Pezzullo led changes in his department recasting what had been seen as traditional immigration and border security institutions and doctrines.
Management of conflict of interest
The Sydney Morning Herald reported that early in 2014 Pezzullo's brother, Fabio, escaped a criminal conviction after he confessed to lying to an inquiry investigating corruption at Sydney airport.
Fabio Pezzullo, a former Customs officer, was fined and placed on a two-year good behaviour bond for perjuring himself before a corruption watchdog. The 42-year-old was charged after an investigation over allegations he sold prescription drugs to fellow Sydney Airport Customs officers and lied to the Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity. The commission was investigating several of his colleagues for drug importation and bribery. Despite being told verbally and in writing not to tell anyone of the summons, Fabio Pezzullo told his flatmate, a former Customs officer. Fabio Pezzullo's sentencing took place in June 2014.
While the case was underway Michael Pezzullo was fulfilling senior executive roles in Customs and Border Protection, but had disclosed the conflict to his Minister from the outset. In a note to staff regarding the case he was reported to have said: "from the outset, I asked and expected to be treated as a detached family member with no official rights, interests or powers in the matter." The communique also details the processes that were implemented to manage any real or perceived conflict of interest relating to the case.
A biography published on the Australian Customs and Border Protection website stated that Pezzullo "enjoys being with his family, cricket and rugby league, and reading (anything on military history, strategy, international relations, intelligence, political biography and philosophy, for starters)."
- McIlroy, Tom (7 September 2017). "Mike Pezzullo a winner in public service shake-up unveiled by Malcolm Turnbull". The Canberra Times. Retrieved 30 January 2018.
- Thomson, Phillip (2 October 2014). "Michael Pezzullo new Department of Immigration and Border Protection secretary". The Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax Media. Archived from the original on 13 October 2014.
- Mr Michael Pezzullo – CEO (PDF), Australian Customs and Border Protection Service, archived from the original (PDF) on 22 February 2014
- Department of Defence, Defence White Paper 2009 - Biographies, Australian Government, archived from the original on 27 March 2015
- Thomson, Phillip (27 March 2015). "Immigration Department secretary Mike Pezzullo: 'Cult of the lifer' is corrosive". The Canberra Times. Fairfax Media. Archived from the original on 27 March 2015.
- Thomson, Phillip (2 October 2014). "Michael Pezzullo new Department of Immigration and Border Protection secretary". The Canberra Times. Fairfax Media. Archived from the original on 27 March 2015.
- Mr Mike Pezzullo: Deputy Secretary of the Strategy Executive, Department of Defence, archived from the original on 23 January 2012
- Stewart, Cameron Ron; Walters, Patrick (14 April 2009). "Mike Pezzullo pushes hard China stance". The Australian. News Ltd.
- "Mike Pezzullo confirmed as Customs CEO". Australian Financial Review. Fairfax Media. AAP. 15 February 2013. Archived from the original on 27 March 2015.
- Hall, Eleanor. "Customs and Border Protection CEO Michael Pezzullo promises massive change". Australian Broadcasting Commission.
- Kevin, Tony (22 January 2015). "Tracing the far-reaching changes in immigration and border protection". The Conversation. Archived from the original on 27 March 2015.
- Ralston, Nik (11 June 2014). "Customs chief's brother who lied to inquiry avoids criminal conviction". The Canberra Times. Fairfax Media. Archived from the original on 9 October 2014.
- McKenzie, Nick; Baker, Richard; Massola, James (10 June 2014). "Brother of Customs boss to be sentenced". The Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax Media. Archived from the original on 29 July 2014.
- Mannheim, Markus (5 August 2014). "Michael Pezzullo: a privileged agency head and his discourteous dispute". The Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax Media. Archived from the original on 25 August 2014.
- Pezzullo, Michael (5 August 2014). "Managing conflicts of interest: former Customs officer Fabio Pezzullo". Archived from the original on 9 October 2014.
| Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service
| Secretary of the Department of Immigration and Border Protection
|New title|| Secretary of the Department of Home Affairs