Paul Madden » High Commissioner, Canberra

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

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