Paul Madden » High Commissioner, Canberra

Strategic Dialogue talks in Canberra

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With all the trouble spots flaring up around the world at the moment, our annual Strategic Dialogue talks with DFAT could not have been more timely. FCO Director General Sir Julian King was in town together with his Ministry of Defence counterpart Peter Watkins for an intensive series of meetings. They discussed developments in the Middle East, Ukraine and Asia, as well as the vexed challenge of foreign fighters heading … Read more »Strategic Dialogue talks in Canberra

Employment Minister Esther McVey in Melbourne for G20

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G20 brought another minister to Australia this week. Esther McVey MP, Minister of State for Employment, is in Melbourne attending the G20 Employment Ministers Meeting. As an MP on Merseyside, which has had its share of employment challenges, she is passionate about helping to give people the opportunity to work. Immediately before the meeting she shared a platform with host Senator Eric Abetz and US Labor Secretary Perez, in which … Read more »Employment Minister Esther McVey in Melbourne for G20

Foreign Office Minister Hugo Swire in Canberra and Melbourne

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When I was a kid our local MP in the beautiful constituency of East Devon was a remote figure, very distant from our lives. Last week his successor stayed at my Residence in Canberra. Hugo Swire, the FCO Minister of State whose responsibilities include Asia, was here for a very busy couple of days. In Canberra he met Ministers, MPs and officials to discuss a range of foreign policy issues, … Read more »Foreign Office Minister Hugo Swire in Canberra and Melbourne

Foreign Minister Bishop heads to UK for key NATO Summit

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I called on Foreign Minister Julie Bishop this morning to touch base before she headed off to the NATO Summit in Newport, Wales, later this week. Australia has worked very closely with NATO and played an important role as the largest non-NATO contributor in the Afghanistan campaign. This relationship will not end with the campaign but be strengthened through an enhanced partnership with NATO. This NATO meeting is the largest … Read more »Foreign Minister Bishop heads to UK for key NATO Summit

The 37th Governor and the 1st Governor

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HE Dame Marie Bashir, New South Wales’ 37th Governor, reflected warmly on her first predecessor, Admiral Arthur Philip, when she hosted a glittering reception at Government House in Sydney on the 200th anniversary of his death on 31 August. She spoke of the debt that modern Australia owes its founding father. She also commended his personal qualities: his drive and intelligence, his care for his convict charges, and his genuine efforts to … Read more »The 37th Governor and the 1st Governor

PM Abbott hails indigenous scholars bound for Oxford

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“Even the stones seem to speak to you,” said Tony Abbott, describing Oxford’s ancient college buildings to this year’s Charlie Perkins/Chevening scholars. This sense of place would be very familiar to indigenous people. The Prime Minister takes a very close interest in indigenous matters. And Oxford, where he spent two very happy years as a Rhodes Scholar, is clearly dear to his heart. So he was delighted to welcome us … Read more »PM Abbott hails indigenous scholars bound for Oxford

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