The Treasurer’s Top Two Brains
With Prime Minister Scott Morrison and his Government re-elected in what he described on election night as a modern ‘miracle’, the job now falls to Treasurer Josh Frydenberg to make the April 2019 budget a reality and pay for the election promises.
This week, we take a look at two people likely to have significant influence on the policies and programs the Treasurer takes to Cabinet over the next three years.
Martin Codina – Chief of Staff
Martin Codina is the exact person the Treasurer would want beside him in a ‘financial fox-hole’. Codina holds a Bachelor in Economics and Law and in 2014 completed a Master of International Business.
Codina cut his teeth in Treasury, working for the department for nearly five years as a policy adviser, specifically focused on business taxation and financial services reform.
His work on financial services policy led to him taking up positions in financial services advocacy, first as a Senior Policy Adviser for the Investment and Financial Services Association, followed by four years as Director of Policy with the Financial Services Council.
Codina launched his corporate career as head of Government and Industry Affairs with BT Financial Group, however, after only a year was lured to Canberra as Chief of Staff to the new Assistant Treasurer, Josh Frydenberg.
In September of 2015, Frydenberg was promoted to Minister for Resources, Energy and Northern Australia, and although not an area of Codina’s speciality, he helped the Minister forge a strong relationship with the mining sector.
In August 2017, Codina reignited his corporate career with BT however, after only a year and with the elevation of Frydenberg to Federal Treasurer, the temptation to return to the corridors of power was too great.
In April 2019, Codina was part of the team that helped the Treasurer announce a projected budget surplus of $7.1 billion.
The challenge for Codina will be working with the Department and in particular Treasury Secretary Phil Gaetjens to deliver on the Government’s promises.
Phil Gaetjens – Treasury Secretary
Phil Gaetjens is part of the furniture in Canberra. An old-school bureaucrat and political staffer, Gaetjens knows the inner workings of government and the public service as if he brought them to life himself.
Gaetjens started his career in the public service in 1977 as an Assistant Research Officer in the Bureau of Transport Economics. In 1993 Gaetjens took on the role of Senior Adviser in the infrastructure branch of Prime Minister and Cabinet after which he served in brief but critical roles with the organisational arm of the Australian Senate as well as in the South Australian Treasury Department.
Gaetjens rose to prominence as a staffer when he served as then-Treasurer Peter Costello’s Chief of Staff from 1997 until the Government’s defeat in 2007.
After taking time off due to a near fatal pedestrian/vehicle accident, Gaetjens recovered to take on an international role with APEC before heading up NSW Treasury as Secretary in 2011. He returned to Canberra in 2015 as Chief of Staff for then-Treasurer Scott Morrison.
Gaetjens was appointed Secretary to the Treasury in August 2018. As Treasury Secretary, Gaetjens holds the key to the country’s coffers and with a new and invigorated Coalition in power, will be responsible for advising the Government on the best way to pay for their election commitments.