Paul Madden » High Commissioner, Canberra

Churchill Lecture in Brisbane

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“You know, in the end, we are all worms, but I do believe I am a glow worm” Winston Churchill once told a friend. Paul Keating, speaking in 2008 agreed “He was a glow worm and he lit up the most miserable epoch of the miserable twentieth century like no one before or after him.” I had been invited to give the annual Churchill Lecture by the English Speaking Union … Read more »Churchill Lecture in Brisbane

Dr Who mania hits Sydney

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  I no longer cower behind the sofa at the opening bars of the Dr Who theme tune, but it still summons up something of the frisson I remember from Saturday nights in my childhood. Interestingly, I just learned that the melody was composed by an Australian, Ron Grainer, for the first series back in 1963. So it was a thrill to join some 2,000 “Whovians” at the BBC’s launch … Read more »Dr Who mania hits Sydney

New British Council head in Australia

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Sydney’s arts and cultural community gathered at our Consul General’s Residence last week to say farewell to outgoing British Council Director Nick Marchand. The British Council do a fantastic job as the UK’s organization for international cultural relations. They support the third pillar of our relationship with Australia – people to people links – alongside the close political and economic ties we enjoy. When I headed the FCO’s Public Diplomacy … Read more »New British Council head in Australia

Australia mourns MH17 victims

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The official memorial service for the Australian victims of the Malaysian Airlines tragedy took place at St Patrick’s Cathedral in Melbourne yesterday. I sat with the Dutch and Malaysian ambassadors as we mourned this senseless loss of life. Australian leaders turned out in force to demonstrate the whole country’s support for the bereaved families. The Governor General, Prime Minister and state governors and premiers were present. There were poignant reflections … Read more »Australia mourns MH17 victims

Australia remembers start of the Great War

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Alongside Ambassadors and High Commissioners from many countries, representing both sides of the conflict, I took part yesterday in a moving ceremony to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the start of WW1, at Canberra’s Australian War Memorial. Meanwhile in Glasgow, Governor General Sir Peter Cosgrove, one of Australia’s most distinguished former soldiers, represented Australia at the Commonwealth commemoration service. All around the world our embassies turned off all their lights, save a … Read more »Australia remembers start of the Great War

Commonwealth Games: well done Glasgow, over to Gold Coast

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So, a very successful Commonwealth Games draws to a close in Glasgow. The city showed itself off to great effect, helped by some wonderful weather. The organisers and volunteers can take great pride in the welcome they provided. Scottish and English athletes shared triumphs together as part of Team GB at London 2012. Here they were competing with each other. But I think people all around the UK were cheering … Read more »Commonwealth Games: well done Glasgow, over to Gold Coast

NSW Premier says economic ties with UK strong and growing

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New South Wales Premier Mike Baird, almost exactly 100 days in office, addressed an Australian British Chamber of Commerce lunch in Sydney yesterday. He described the state’s trade and investment links with Britain as large and growing, something he is keen to continue. British companies are major investors in NSW; many of them were represented among the 300 or so guests at the lunch. He also set out the returning … Read more »NSW Premier says economic ties with UK strong and growing

Museum Pieces

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Lunch at the British Museum with its Director Neil MacGregor OM. We ate under the roof of the Great Court, the splendid space which fuses old and new so sympathetically. I have very fond memories of the BM, as I used to work in the historical Reading Room when I was studying Japanese at the School of Oriental and African Studies just round the corner. It is one of the … Read more »Museum Pieces

Westminster Abbey honours Australia’s first Governor

Admiral Arthur Phillip RN

We assembled for a spectacular occasion in Westminster Abbey this week to celebrate Admiral Arthur Phillip RN, Captain of the First Fleet, and first governor of New South Wales. The Duke of Edinburgh inaugurated a plaque in Phillip’s honour in the central aisle of the Abbey, with cabinet ministers from both countries, the current Governors of New South Wales and Victoria, and many eminent people from Britain and Australia in … Read more »Westminster Abbey honours Australia’s first Governor

Australian Parliament celebrates Scotland, as part of the UK

HE Paul Madden, Sen Ian Macdonald, Bruce Scott MP, Sen Doug Cameron, Sen Bridget McKenzie, Laurie Ferguson MP

With names like Scott, Cameron, Macdonald, Ferguson and McKenzie, the MPs and Senators who organised last night’s Scottish Dinner in Australia’s Parliament House had a gleam in their eyes at the swirl of the bagpipes and the clink of the whisky glass. Some of them have more distant ancestral links to Scotland, like my own. But Labor Senator Doug Cameron who worked in the Clydeside shipyards before emigrating to Australia … Read more »Australian Parliament celebrates Scotland, as part of the UK