Kerri Hartland

Kerri Gaye Hartland is the Director-General-designate of the Australian Secret Intelligence Service.[1] She was formerly an Australian public servant for 30 years, before joining the private sector. She was the first female Deputy Director General of ASIO and took up the position of Secretary of the Australian Government Department of Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business in January 2017.

Kerri Hartland
Secretary of the Department of Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business
In office
Personal details
Kerri Gaye Hartland

(1965-06-02) 2 June 1965 (age 57)
Oakey, Queensland, Australia
Alma materUniversity of Queensland;
Australian National University
ProfessionPublic Servant

Personal life and educationEdit

Born in Oakey, Queensland in 1965, Hartland grew up with her parents Valerie and Neville Hartland, her brother Brad and her sister Karina.

From 1983 Hartland lived at Cromwell College, while studying at the University of Queensland. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in 1985 and later a Bachelor of Economics in 1991.[2]

Commencing further education at the Australian National University, Hartland completed a Master of Legal Studies in 1996 and is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.[2]

Hartland now lives in Canberra, Australia with husband Brian Fisher, and has two adult daughters Jordyn and Anna Fisher.[3]


In 1985 she worked as a cadet journalist for Western Publishers. From 1986 to 1990 Hartland continued working as a journalist for Melbourne Herald and Weekly Times and News Ltd in the Parliamentary Press Gallery, while completing her second degree.[3]

Between 1990 and 1995, Hartland worked in the Department of Primary Industries before acting as head of the APEC Energy Ministerial Taskforce for the department in 1995 and 1996.[3]

Hartland moved to Canada from 1996 to 1997 to work as Secondment to Natural Resources Canada in Ottawa.

From 1997, Hartland returned to Australia undertaking a role as Australia's representative to the International Energy Agency and Deputy Director General of Invest Australia for the Department of Resources and Energy. Hartland shifted to the Prime Minister's Taskforce on Investment and Promotion in the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet in 2001. Shortly after she worked as the Executive general manager of Biotechnology Australia until 2003. For the next two years Hartland was the Chief Information Officer for the Department of Industry, Science and Resources. From 2006 to 2011 Hartland was the Deputy Secretary of Service Delivery Reform for the Department of Human Services. She led a $1 billion project that saw the formation of a 40,000 strong organisation merging Centrelink, Medicare, Child Support Agency and the Commonwealth Rehabilitation Agency and the development of legislation for the Department of Human Services.[4]

Hartland became the first female and first external Deputy Director General of ASIO in 2011.[3] She was responsible for counter espionage and interference, technical capability, information technology, corporate and legal services, strategic policy and stakeholder engagement. She led a major transformation of the organisation until 2017.[5]

From February to September 2017, Hartland was the Deputy Secretary of the Department of Finance and the Chief Operating Officer.[3] Hartland established the Independent Parliamentary Expense Authority and held responsibility for services to all MPs including Comcar fleet service. Hartland also developed a revamped Commonwealth Shared Services Hub that provided shared services for more than 20 Commonwealth departments and agencies.

Hartland was appointed Secretary of the Department of Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business (formerly the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations) in late 2017.[6] She was accountable for a $3.5 billion a year budget, 2,500 staff and a contracted network across 1700 locations in Australia with a $7 billion contract - the largest in The Australian Government outside the Department of Defence. Hartland was responsible for leading the biggest transformation of the employment services system in more than 20 years since the disbanding of the CES. She was also responsible for a renewed focus on small business policy including initiatives such as the Digital Champions program as well as mental health and mature aged initiatives. Until May 2019, Hartland was responsible for industrial relations policies and programs including the Fair Work Commission, Fair Work Ombudsman, Worksafe Australia and Comcare.

For the first half of 2020, Hartland was appointed by the Business Council of Australia to assist Sir Peter Cosgrove with efforts to support small businesses recovery from the bushfires and COVID.[2]

In late 2020 Hartland joined consultancy company Proximity as a Principal Advisor.[7]

On 9 December 2022, Hartland was announced as the incoming Director-General of the Australian Secret Intelligence Service, commencing February 2023. Hartland replaced previous director-general Paul Symon.[8]

Other rolesEdit

Outside of Hartland's role with Proximity, she works as a board member of both The Canberra Hospital Foundation and Canberra Girls Grammar School. Hartland is also a Chief Executive Women member, an MS Angel (philanthropic research for MS) and is on the advisory board of the Brotherhood of St. Laurence.[7]


Hartland was awarded a Prime Ministers Gold Award for Excellence in Public Sector Management in 2009. Hartland also earned the 2015 Australian Human Resources Institute Rob Gaffe Award for Leadership and the 2017 Institute of Public Administrations of Australia Prime Ministers Awards.[citation needed]


  1. ^ "First female chief for Australia's foreign spy agency". Australian Financial Review. 9 December 2022. Retrieved 9 December 2022.
  2. ^ a b c Hartland, Kerri. "Kerri Hartland". LinkedIn.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  3. ^ a b c d e "Kerri Hartland, our newest top female bureaucrat". HerCanberra. 4 October 2017. Retrieved 7 February 2021.
  4. ^ Dingwall, Doug (11 September 2020). "Kerri Hartland's winding career path takes its next surprise turn". The Canberra Times. Retrieved 7 February 2021.
  5. ^ "An Evening with Ms Kerri Hartland, Deputy Director-General, Australian Security Intelligence Organisation". Retrieved 7 February 2021.
  6. ^ Dingwall, Sally Whyte, Doug (15 July 2018). "How to run a super-portfolio, without a super-department". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 7 February 2021.
  7. ^ a b "Top federal bureaucrat makes the switch to Proximity". Proximity. Retrieved 7 February 2021.
  8. ^ "First female chief for Australia's foreign spy agency". Australian Financial Review. 9 December 2022. Retrieved 9 December 2022.