Paul Madden » High Commissioner, Canberra

Geopolitics and investment… and graduations

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There seems to be an unusually large number of challenging geopolitical issues all surfacing at the same time at the moment. This was the conclusion of a panel I spoke on at the annual conference of the International Investment Funds Association (IIFA) in Canberra this week. The panel was chaired by DFAT Parliamentary Secretary Senator Brett Mason, and included the Swiss Ambassador and the Singaporean High Commissioner. We all represented … Read more »Geopolitics and investment… and graduations

WW1 Galleries at the Imperial War Museum

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The new £40m WW1 galleries at the Imperial War Museum in London are absolutely spectacular. I was fortunate to be given a private tour during my visit to London last week, when I met IWM Director Diane Lees and discussed the museum’s plans to send a WW1 exhibition to Melbourne next year. The path through the gallery neatly juxtaposes action in various fields of conflict with what was happening on … Read more »WW1 Galleries at the Imperial War Museum

Indian Ocean Rim Association ministers meet in Perth

IORA copy

The Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) is not one of the most well known international regional groupings. But it is of growing significance. The 20 countries who flank the world’s third largest ocean represent more than a quarter  of the world’s population, and include African, Arab and Asian nations. Around half the world’s cargo ships and two thirds of oil shipments sail through the Indian Ocean.  So it is not surprising that Australia, … Read more »Indian Ocean Rim Association ministers meet in Perth

British comedy fits the Bill

Bill Bailey and HE Paul Madden

Australians and Brits share a very similar sense of humour. The much loved comedian, musician and self-styled hippy Bill Bailey is well known here from his Black Books sitcom and appearances on many panel shows like QI. He came to lunch at my Residence on Saturday before performing a sell-out show in Canberra as part of his latest Australian Tour, which also takes in New Zealand, Singapore and Hong Kong. It … Read more »British comedy fits the Bill

Order! Order!

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I think two Speakers make a stereo system. There was certainly a high fidelity exchange when Australian Parliament Speaker Bronwyn Bishop hosted the Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow in Canberra this week. Speaker Bercow is a familiar face around the world from TV coverage of the famous weekly Prime Minister’s Question Time. He received a warm welcome from many federal politicians. He gave a lecture on Digital … Read more »Order! Order!

British stars rock Grand Final crowd

Tom Jones performing at the AFL Grand Final

It’s not unusual for the AFL Grand Final to attract a big name musician to entertain the almost 100,000 crowd. But it was the first time they’d had Tom Jones. Together with Ed Sheeran, the veteran star and one of the hottest current British talents wowed the fans before and after the game. The match itself was a slight disappointment with the Sydney Swans failing to live up to expectations … Read more »British stars rock Grand Final crowd

Applying for British Passports overseas

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During the last few months, our consular teams in Australia have been doing several things to help British nationals who need to travel urgently, but have been affected by longer processing times at HM Passport Office (HMPO) following a surge in demand for British passports: We have been issuing Emergency Travel Documents, which enable travellers to make specified journeys in the absence of their normal passport. They are widely accepted, but … Read more »Applying for British Passports overseas

All eyes on New York this week

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                British and Australian leaders will no doubt be seeing each other around New York this week, amidst the frenzied activity which comprises the annual UN General Assembly (UNGA) Ministerial Week. Tony Abbott, David Cameron, Julie Bishop and Philip Hammond will be there, together with ministerial colleagues and around 130 Heads of State or Government. Inevitably countering extremism and the threat of ISIL will be a big priority for … Read more »All eyes on New York this week

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