In 1958 David was appointed Honorary Secretary of the newly formed Jewish Community. He was elected Vice-President and was a member of the Building Committee. David also stood in for the Community President at the ceremony for the laying of the foundation stone for the National Jewish Memorial Centre in 1962, attended by Prime Minister Sir Robert Menzies, where he delivered the speech on behalf of the Community. He continued to serve on the Board until the opening of the Centre in 1971
Appointed Private Secretary to the Minister for Interior and Works from 1958 to 1963, Sir David went on to become Secretary to the Federal Executive Council and head of the Government Branch of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet from 1971 to 1973.
Sir David was the inaugural Secretary of the Order of Australia after its establishment in 1975. After Sir Paul Hasluck retired, Sir David served Sir John Kerr and at the constitutional crisis of 1975, he read the proclamation of the dissolution of Parliament on the steps of old Parliament House in Canberra on 11 November of that year.
Sir David was attached to the Queen’s household at Buckingham Palace for several months in 1975 and, immediately before his retirement, was knighted by the Queen at a private ceremony at Balmoral Castle in 1990 (KCVO) in recognition of his personal service to the Monarch. He had previously been awarded a CVO in 1977, and an AO in 1986 and was also Knight Commander of the Order of St John of Jerusalem.
In 1977 he was made a Commander of the Royal Victorian Order (CVO) for his continuing services as Official Secretary; in 1986 he was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for “service to the Crown, as Official Secretary to the Governor General and as Secretary of the Order of Australia”.
In 1990 he was appointed a Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order (KCVO) at a private investiture at Balmoral Castle; in 1991 he was appointed a Knight of Grace of the Order of St John of Jerusalem (KStJ); and in 2001 he was awarded the Centenary Medal for “services to Australian society through the Office of Governor General”. He was also awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee Medal.