Head of Department of Prime Minister & Cabinet and Foreign Affairs & Trade Both Resign Today

The Commonwealth public service is facing a major shake-up after two of the most powerful Department Secretaries both resigned today.

Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet secretary Michael Thawley announced his resignation this afternoon only hours after Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Secretary Peter Varghese also resigned.

Mr Thawley was appointed by former Prime Minister Tony Abbott in 2014 and he will finish in late January.

Mr Thawley had previously served as the Australian Ambassador to the United States.

In a statement Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said Mr Thawley wanted to return to the private sector.

DFAT Secretary Peter Varghese resigned earlier in the day. He has been in the position since December 2012.

Mr Varghese previously served as the Australian High Commissioner to India and as Director-General of the Office of National Assessments.

Mr Turnbull announced Mr Varghese had accepted the position of Chancellor of the University of Queensland.

The Prime Minister also announced his acting chief of staff Drew Clarke would remain in the role permanently.

Mr Clarke was Secretary of the Department of Communications before being seconded to Mr Turnbull's office after the leadership change in September.

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