Michael Manthorpe PSM
Michael Manthorpe PSM was appointed by the Australian Government to the role of Commonwealth Ombudsman for a five year term commencing on 8 May 2017. He is the 10th Commonwealth Ombudsman since the Office’s inception in 1977. By virtue of an arrangement between the Commonwealth and ACT Governments, he is also the ACT Ombudsman.
Prior to his appointment, Michael was a career Australian public servant. He is a generalist, who studied journalism and history at the University of Queensland in the 1980s, and worked for different governments on a variety of public policy issues over the years. He is fascinated by the way in which large complex administrative systems interact with people, and how this can occur to best possible effect. Most recently he held deputy secretary roles in the Department of Immigration and Border Protection where, among other things, he was responsible for the management of Australia’s visa and citizenship services system. This entailed overseeing 4,500 staff around the world who were tasked with making approximately eight million visa and citizenship decisions every year, involving diverse visitors to Australia—tourists, students, workers, refugees and those who seek Australian citizenship.
Prior to moving to the immigration portfolio in 2013, Michael worked for 25 years in the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations in its various forms. He undertook a wide range of roles, including managing the department’s 1,000-strong Corporate and State Office functions; work on early childhood, labour market and employment services policies and delivery; work on public sector industrial relations arrangements; and management of certain high profile public policy problems, notably the insolvency of ABC Learning—then Australia’s largest child care provider—in 2008. For his leadership role in relation to ABC Learning, Michael was awarded the Public Service Medal in 2010.
Michael is a member of the Australian and New Zealand Ombudsman Association (ANZOA), the peak body for Ombudsmen in Australia and New Zealand.