Penny has been Acting Commonwealth Ombudsman since 1 August 2021, following the retirement of former Ombudsman, Michael Manthorpe. In her substantive role, Penny is the Deputy Commonwealth Ombudsman having been appointed for a five year term on 23 July 2020.
As the Acting Commonwealth Ombudsman, Penny is also the acting ACT, Defence Force, Immigration, Law Enforcement, Private Health Insurance, Overseas Student, VET Student Loan and Postal Industry Ombudsman.
Penny’s 25-year public service career spans state, territory and commonwealth jurisdictions and includes roles as a Commonwealth, State and Territory prosecutor in the ACT, NT and Qld; the position of Senior Assistant Director of Legal, People Smuggling and Human Trafficking at the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions Office; General Counsel at the Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity; and a secondment to the Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territory.
Penny has extensive experience in areas of criminal law policy, investigations and prosecutions, integrity and oversight.
Prior to her appointment, Penny was the First Assistant Secretary of the Integrity, Security and Assurance Division at the Department of Home Affairs and was responsible for the Department’s and Australia Border Force’s Integrity and Professional Standards program; protective and physical security; and audit and assurance.
Penny holds a Bachelor of Law and a Bachelor of Business (Management) and is admitted to practise as a solicitor of the Supreme Court.