Turnbull names new chief, defence boss

Paul Osborne, AAP Senior Political Writer

Malcolm Turnbull has appointed former ambassador Peter Woolcott as his chief of staff, to replace Greg Moriarty who will become the secretary of the Defence department.

Mr Woolcott, who starts on September 4, has served as high commissioner to New Zealand, ambassador for the environment, Australia's permanent representative to the United Nations in Geneva, ambassador for disarmament and people smuggling, and ambassador to Italy.

Mr Moriarty first worked for Defence from 1986-95, primarily in the Defence Intelligence Organisation, but also served in the headquarters of the United States Central Command in the Persian Gulf during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm.

He has been ambassador to Iran and Indonesia and was the first person to take the role of Australia's counter-terrorism coordinator in June 2015.

He joined the prime minister's office as an international and national security adviser in August 2016 and later became chief of staff.