Paul Madden » High Commissioner, Canberra

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

Consular work in Australia

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In my final few weeks in Australia I’ve been blogging about different aspects of our activities here. People often ask me what our consular work involves. It’s a big part of what we do, involving about one sixth of our staff – some 16 people – plus Honorary Consuls in five cities where we don’t have offices. That’s hardly surprising when we have 1.2 million Brits living here and another … Read more »Consular work in Australia

An Australian Christmas and New Year

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Back to work after a Christmas/New Year break which is rather longer in Australia than at home. That’s because it’s summer here and with the schools on holiday most Australians take a long break. Many won’t be back until much later in January. In British terms it’s Christmas and August combined. We had our final Aussie Christmas at home in Canberra. The weather was great, but it never feels quite … Read more »An Australian Christmas and New Year

Australia, we’re all riding with you today

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The eyes of the world focused on a small chocolate cafe in Sydney’s Martin Place this week as the tragic events of the hostage-taking played out. This was front page news in the media in Britain and all around the world. Such events strike a particular chord because everyone thinks “if it’s happening to ordinary people in an ordinary place like that, it could happen to any of us anywhere”. … Read more »Australia, we’re all riding with you today

A Town Like Alice

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“The Alice”, Alice Springs – the very name evokes our image of the “real” Australia. In fact the average Australian lives in a suburb in Sydney or Melbourne: it’s one of the most urbanized societies in the world. But the Outback certainly lives up to its image: searing heat, deep red ochre soil, and vast distances. I was visiting Peter Saville, our Honorary Consul in the Alice: I had already … Read more »A Town Like Alice

Helping British business in Australia

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I was invited to address the British Business Lunch Group in Sydney for their end of year event. It was an opportunity to set out the range of things we do to support business here. In my speech here I explained that this is a top priority for all of our ambassadors. Of the nearly 100 staff in our 5 posts around Australia, 36 work for UK Trade & Investment. UKTI … Read more »Helping British business in Australia