Peter Henderson (Australian public servant)

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Peter Henderson
AC
Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs
In office
4 September 1979 – 3 September 1984
Personal details
Born Peter Graham Faithfull Henderson
(1928-10-01)1 October 1928
Died 25 September 2016(2016-09-25) (aged 87)
Canberra
Nationality Australia Australian
Spouse(s) Heather (née Menzies)
Alma mater University of Oxford
Occupation Public servant

Peter Graham Faithfull Henderson AC (1 October 1928 – 25 September 2016) was an Australian senior public servant. He was Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs between 1979 and 1984. He was also well known for being the son-in-law of Robert Menzies.

Early life and marriage[edit]

Peter Henderson was born in October 1928.[1] In May 1955, Henderson married Heather Menzies, daughter of Robert Menzies, the Australian Prime Minister.[2][1][3] They had their first child, a daughter, in March 1956, in Jakarta.[4]

Career and later life[edit]

Henderson began his career in the Australian Public Service in the Department of External Affairs in 1951.[1]

He was appointed Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs in 1979.[5] During his time at the department he introduced rules to prevent couples being posted together, which was interpreted by those it affected as a "pincer movement" against career equality for female diplomats.[6]

At the end of his public service career in September 1984, Henderson was offered the choice of a demotion or retirement—he chose to retire, and denounced the Australian Government for using the diplomatic service as a "depository... for people they want to get rid of in Canberra".[7]

Henderson died in Canberra on 25 September 2016.[8][9]

Awards[edit]

In January 1985, Henderson was made a Companion of the Order of Australia in recognition of distinguished public service.[10]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c CP 948: Peter Graham Faithfull HENDERSON AC, KStJ, National Archives of Australia, retrieved 10 February 2014 
  2. ^ "Keen Interest in Wedding of Miss Heather Menzies". The Canberra Times. 30 May 1955. p. 2. Archived from the original on 10 February 2014. 
  3. ^ "Mr. Peter Henderson Home on Leave". 16 May 1955. Archived from the original on 10 February 2014. 
  4. ^ "Daughter For Mrs. Peter Henderson". The Canberra Times. 7 March 1956. p. 4. Archived from the original on 10 February 2014. 
  5. ^ CA 1382: Department of Foreign Affairs, Central Office, National Archives of Australia, retrieved 28 December 2013 
  6. ^ Broinowski, Alison (7 December 2013). "Sexist baggage revealed". The Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax Media. Archived from the original on 21 December 2013. 
  7. ^ "Former FA head condemns 'dumping'". The Canberra Times. 31 January 1985. p. 1. 
  8. ^ "Tributes & Celebrations". Canberra Times. 28 September 2016. Retrieved 12 November 2016. 
  9. ^ Towell, Noel (27 September 2016). "Canberra loses its scourge of public service 'yes men'". Fairfax Media. Archived from the original on 27 September 2016. 
  10. ^ Search Australian Honours: HENDERSON, Peter Graham Faithful, Australian Government 

References and further reading[edit]

Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
James Ingram
Australian Ambassador to the Philippines
1973 – 1975
Succeeded by
Gerry Nutter
Government offices
Preceded by
Nick Parkinson
Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs
1979 – 1984
Succeeded by
Stuart Harris