ANU alumni graduate to head departments under Abbott
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ANU alumni graduate to head departments under Abbott

Two new department heads promoted by the Abbott government are products of the Australian National University, and both came up under Terry Moran's tenure in the Prime Minister's Department.

Gordon de Brouwer came to prominence during his time at the Reserve Bank and Treasury and as a professor of economics at ANU's Asia-Pacific school of economics and governance. He was at one time considered for a place on the Reserve Bank board and was executive director of the ANU's Australia-Japan Research Centre.

New head of the Environment Department Gordon de Brouwer.

New head of the Environment Department Gordon de Brouwer.

Mr de Brouwer is considered an expert in international and Asian economics, and was a significant player in building Australia's role in the G20 group, for which he was awarded a Public Service Medal.

He was poached from Treasury by the then-head of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, Terry Moran, in 2008 and rose up the ranks under prime ministers Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard.

New head of the Department of Unemployment, Renee Leon.

New head of the Department of Unemployment, Renee Leon.

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Still an adjunct professor with the university, Mr de Brouwer has been promoted from his position as associate secretary with PM&C to head the Environment Department.

According to The Conversation's Michelle Grattan, Mr de Brouwer has been linked with former ABC and ASX chairman and prominent Liberal business adviser Maurice Newman, who last week wrote in The Australian Financial Review that climate change was a myth.

Another of Mr Moran's recruits and a de Brouwer colleague from PM&C is Renee Leon, who has also been promoted to department secretary level, taking the reins at the Department of Employment.

Ms Leon is a well-known Canberra lawyer and ANU alumni who was a Robert Menzies Scholar in 1995 and holds a master of laws from Cambridge.

After a stint in the federal Attorney-General's Department, Ms Leon became chief executive at the ACT Department of Justice and Community Safety from 2006, and established the ACT Human Rights Commission and was a founding convener of the Women's Legal Centre and a chairwoman of the Welfare Rights and Legal Centre in Canberra. She left the ACT public service for the Attorney-General's Department in 2009, before she was brought into the PM&C fold in 2011.

Ms Leon was the deputy secretary of governance at PM&C, and had previously reportedly been considered a possible candidate for department secretary at the Attorney-General's Department.

She was awarded a Public Service Medal for her contributions to public administration and law in the 2013 Queen's Birthday Honours List.