The soldier who captained the efforts by the Abbott government to prevent asylum seekers reaching Australia is now set to be the nation’s new Defence Chief. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced this afternoon that Lieutenant General Angus Campbell is going to replace Air Chief Marshal Mark Binskin for Australia’s top Defence role this July.
Of the decision, Mr Turnbull said that “the leadership renewal” was going to “ensure that we have a seamless transition” for what he called the “uniformed leadership of our defence forces”. He went on to say that this was a “critical time in our history” citing “complex and dangerous” Australian military actions in the Middle East and “elsewhere around the world”.
The Prime Minister also said that “coordination with our allies and partners” with the “cutting edge of technology” was now “more important than ever”. He then congratulated Lieutenant General Campbell saying that he will provide “leadership and experience” to the position.
Lieutenant General Campbell thanked both the Prime Minister and his predecessor for what he called a “great privilege and honour to serve”. He said that he appreciated the “confidence and trust” that was being given to him.
He then spoke of the “extraordinary responsibility” of leading and taking care of the Australian Defence Force and its personnel.
During the Abbott government, Lieutenant General Campbell was the military face of the controversial Operation Sovereign Borders. During this time he was known for avoiding discussion of what were called “operational” or “on-water” issues.
He is considered to be a competent military leader and has been Chief of Army since 2015. He has also spent time in the public sector in the Cabinet and Department of Prime Minister.
Lieutenant General Campbell had narrowly beaten current Chief of Join Operations David Johnston as well as Vice Chief of Defence Ray Griggs to win the job. Vice Admiral David Johnston will also replace Admiral Griggs in the role of Vice Chief of Defence, returning from operations fighting Islamic State.
As for the Chief of Army role, Major General Rick Burr is going to take over the job. This shuffle in military leadership also leaves Tim Barrett, Chief of Navy, to resign and be replaced by Rear Admiral Mick Noonan.
The job itself holds seniority over nearly 60,000 uniformed personnel, has an annual budget of $34 billion AUD and is responsible for counselling the government on military matters. Contrary the Pre Minister who makes $527,852, the Chief of Defence earns $800,000.