Paul Madden » High Commissioner, Canberra

World leaders linger in Australia

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A number of the world leaders who came to Australia for the Brisbane G20 stayed on afterwards for formal Guest of Government visits, taking in several different states, including Tasmania. I suspect by the end of this week Australians, and particularly Canberrans, were getting pretty blasé about having Presidents and Prime Ministers in town. In the course of this week I attended addresses to Parliament by President Xi of China and Prime … Read more »World leaders linger in Australia

David Cameron visits Australia for Brisbane G20 Summit

Feature image for:  David Cameron visits Australia for Brisbane G20 Summit

You always look forward to your Prime Minister visiting the country you’re posted in, even though it means a lot of extra work for the whole team. David Cameron has just been back in Australia for the second time. He began his official bilateral visit on Friday with a stroll around Sydney’s beautiful harbour with PM Tony Abbott with whom he gets on very well. Some of the Australian media … Read more »David Cameron visits Australia for Brisbane G20 Summit

Bright sunshine for Remembrance Day at the Australian War Memorial

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The sun shone brightly on Canberra’s national war memorial on Remembrance Day, which Australia celebrates actually on 11 November, rather than on the nearest Sunday as in the UK. Wreaths were laid by the Governor General; Senator Ronaldson (for the Prime Minister who is overseas) and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten and senior parliamentary, military and veteran representatives. Former Prime Minister John Howard paid a dignified tribute to past sacrifice, with the … Read more »Bright sunshine for Remembrance Day at the Australian War Memorial

Vale Gough Whitlam

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One of the privileges of being a High Commissioner is being invited to represent Britain at great state occasions that tell the story of a country. Yesterday I was in Sydney for the State Memorial Service for former PM Gough Whitlam who passed away at the grand old age of 98. All seven living Australian Prime Ministers were present. Speakers including former Labor colleagues, actress Cate Blanchett, and his son … Read more »Vale Gough Whitlam

ANZAC departure commemorations in Albany, WA

Prime Ministers Abbott and Key lay wreaths at ANZAC Peace Park

“From this place, on this day a century ago, thousands of Australian and New Zealand servicemen departed on what many considered a great adventure. For the first time our nations were to contribute on a large scale to major world events.” So began the commemorative service in Albany, in the far south tip of Western Australia, on Saturday 1 November. It was here that in 1914, some 27,000 troops from … Read more »ANZAC departure commemorations in Albany, WA

Big win for South Australia-based British company

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The aerospace company Cobham has just been awarded a $640 million contract to provide search and rescue services for the Australian government’s Maritime Safety Authority. Cobham was one of several successful British aerospace and defence businesses I visited in Adelaide last week including British Aerospace, Babcock and Ultra. Defence procurement is a complex business, and my team in Canberra including the Defence Adviser and the Defence and Security Organisation team (part … Read more »Big win for South Australia-based British company

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