Paul Madden » High Commissioner, Canberra

Farewell to Australia

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This is my final blog from Australia. My 205th. I hope someone’s been reading them. It has been one of the greatest privileges and pleasures of my life to represent Britain in Australia as the Pom HC. There is no country to which we feel closer. It has been a fantastic time to be here. Over the past four years Australia has played a particularly prominent role in world affairs, … Read more »Farewell to Australia

Farewell to Canberra

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Well, finally, it’s time to say farewell to Canberra. Our home for the last four years. It’s not the first time we’ve lived in a planned, administrative capital, but Washington was different, and older. While we were here, Canberra celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2013, with many events and exhibitions. It was a reminder of the extraordinary achievement in creating a new capital for a young nation out of sheep … Read more »Farewell to Canberra

Farewell to Brisbane

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Our final trip to Brisbane, that dynamic city of glittering skyscrapers in the hot and sometimes humid tropical state of Queensland, which always sees itself as just a bit different from the rest of Australia. It was one of the first places I visited when I arrived in January 2011, as Kevin Rudd brought William Hague up to see first hand the damage caused by the terrible floods, and to … Read more »Farewell to Brisbane

Farewell to Sydney

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I can hardly believe I’m saying farewell to Sydney at the end of our posting here. It has been our second home during our time in Australia. I’ve probably been in Sydney nearly once a week for the last four years, and often come up for the weekend. I feel I’ve got to know very inch of the Hume Highway from Canberra. Inevitably my lasting memory will be of Sydney’s … Read more »Farewell to Sydney

Australia UK Ministerial meeting (AUKMIN) in Sydney

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Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond and Defence Secretary Michael Fallon have just been in Sydney for the 7th annual AUKMIN talks with their opposite numbers Julie Bishop and Kevin Andrews on 2 February. This is a big event, with participants also including the Chiefs of Defence and senior officials from each country. PM Tony Abbott hosted us for dinner at his Kirribilli residence on Sunday night and Governor General Sir Peter … Read more »Australia UK Ministerial meeting (AUKMIN) in Sydney

Farewell to Adelaide

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Adelaide is the largest city in Australia that we don’t have a British Consulate in. It’s a significant population centre and an important economic hub, with some prominent national politicians. It has also produced my last two opposite numbers as Australian High Commissioner in London – former Premier Mike Rann, and former Foreign Minister Alexander Downer. I’ve visited regularly during my time in Australia, not least because of the strong … Read more »Farewell to Adelaide

Farewell to Perth

Paul Sarah Kerry crop

My final visit to Perth. It’s actually the Australian city I knew best before I moved here, as it’s just a short hop from my previous post in Singapore (closer than Canberra, 2000 miles and 3 time zones away), and because my Aunt – a “ten pound Pom” – had settled here. I’ve usually got here three times a year during my posting. For much of my time, Australia’s foreign … Read more »Farewell to Perth

Farewell to Melbourne

HE Paul Madden with Consul General Gareth Hoar at Government House, Melbourne.

I’m currently paying my farewell visits to major Australian cities before I depart at the end of my posting in February. Today I’m in Melbourne. It’s a city I must have visited around thirty times in the course of my four year posting. That reflects its importance within Australia. With the second largest population it’s home to many senior politicians, and houses the HQs of important companies like BHP and … Read more »Farewell to Melbourne

The FCO’s Australia network: leaner and fitter

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When I leave Australia in a few weeks time, I will be leaving a network of five posts (High Commission, two Consulates General and two Consulates) with nearly a third fewer staff than we had when I arrived four years ago. Almost all of the affected positions were “back office” rather than customer facing or policy work. This is the result of a series of reforms driven from London to … Read more »The FCO’s Australia network: leaner and fitter

My first play… on a Sydney stage

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I was in Sydney this weekend to watch a short play I’d written being performed at the New Theatre in Newtown. It was my first play, so I was quite excited. It was part of the “Short and Sweet” festival, which originated in Sydney but now operates in other Australian cities, and a few other countries. You send your script off, and if you’re lucky it gets selected for performance. … Read more »My first play… on a Sydney stage