EP#17: Oceans-19 – A new approach to working in the Australian Public Service – with Secretary of the Department of Home Affairs, Michael Pezzullo AO

Clooney or Pitt? Who would play Secretary Michael Pezzullo in the movie about the change he is driving in the Department of Home Affairs?

In this week’s Work with Purpose, Secretary Michael Pezzullo draws on Hollywood inspiration to describe his ambition for the Department of Home Affairs, recalls how by age 11 he had already decided on a career of public service and that the achievements of his Rugby League career at Marist Brothers Kogarah as a hard working second or front rower were “modest but improving with years’’.

In a revealing and at times personal conversation, Mike Pezzullo describes the journeys of his parents from post World War Europe to Australia, the inspiration he gets from working with our political leaders and his desire to leave the APS in a better place than when he started.

If you are curious about what makes Michael Pezzullo tick, then don’t miss this week’s episode of Work with Purpose.

He began his public service career as a Defence department graduate in the late 80’s before heading across the lake to the International Division in the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.

From there it was to a coveted position on the Ministerial staff of the then Foreign Minister Gareth Evans, before serving as the deputy Chief of Staff to the then opposition leader Kim Beazley.

He was made Secretary of the Department in 2014 before taking on his current role Secretary of the Department of Home Affairs in 2017.


Discussed in this episode:

  • An 11-year-old Secretary deciding he wanted to be a Public Servant
  • The Secretary’s COVID experience thus far
  • Assisting supermarkets supply systems
  • Team Australia coming together
  • The future of international education
  • Learnings from the Defence operations