MR MARK CUNLIFFE

Head, Defence Legal Division, Department of Defence.

 Mark is Head of Defence Legal in the Department of Defence. In this role he is responsible for an integrated national in-house legal service staffed by ADF and APS personnel. This consists of a group of about 250 permanent staff and 430 Reserve Legal Officers, who serve in over 50 different sites, in Commands, bases and units across Australia, as well as overseas, including on deployment. Most permanent legal staff are ADF officers and most of the division’s members are located outside Canberra.

Mark was born in Sydney, educated in Sydney and Canberra and has an Arts/Law degree from the Australian National University. He worked as a journalist and as a solicitor in private legal practice, before joining the Australian Public Service in the Department of Social Security in 1978.

Mark has worked in the Departments of the Prime Minister and Cabinet and Transport and Regional Development, the Australian Electoral Commission and the UK Home Office (on an exchange scheme from PM&C). He also spent a year as a judge’s associate.

Mark moved to the Department of Defence in June 2001, as First Assistant Secretary Organisational/Defence Improvement Division. After being seconded as the Deputy Head (and then the Head) of the ATSIC Review Secretariat (Dec 2002 – Oct 2003), Mark returned to Defence in late 2003, working on the Defence Legislation Review Project. He resumed as First Assistant Secretary Defence Improvement in early 2004 and gained responsibility for public affairs (and the merged Ministerial Services and Public Affairs Division) in February 2004, before being appointed to head the Defence Legal Division, in July 2004.

Mark is married to Hilary Penfold; they have 3 children, 2 sons and a daughter.