Paul Madden » High Commissioner, Canberra

Museum Pieces

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Lunch at the British Museum with its Director Neil MacGregor OM. We ate under the roof of the Great Court, the splendid space which fuses old and new so sympathetically. I have very fond memories of the BM, as I used to work in the historical Reading Room when I was studying Japanese at the School of Oriental and African Studies just round the corner. It is one of the … Read more »Museum Pieces

Westminster Abbey honours Australia’s first Governor

Admiral Arthur Phillip RN

We assembled for a spectacular occasion in Westminster Abbey this week to celebrate Admiral Arthur Phillip RN, Captain of the First Fleet, and first governor of New South Wales. The Duke of Edinburgh inaugurated a plaque in Phillip’s honour in the central aisle of the Abbey, with cabinet ministers from both countries, the current Governors of New South Wales and Victoria, and many eminent people from Britain and Australia in … Read more »Westminster Abbey honours Australia’s first Governor

Australian Parliament celebrates Scotland, as part of the UK

HE Paul Madden, Sen Ian Macdonald, Bruce Scott MP, Sen Doug Cameron, Sen Bridget McKenzie, Laurie Ferguson MP

With names like Scott, Cameron, Macdonald, Ferguson and McKenzie, the MPs and Senators who organised last night’s Scottish Dinner in Australia’s Parliament House had a gleam in their eyes at the swirl of the bagpipes and the clink of the whisky glass. Some of them have more distant ancestral links to Scotland, like my own. But Labor Senator Doug Cameron who worked in the Clydeside shipyards before emigrating to Australia … Read more »Australian Parliament celebrates Scotland, as part of the UK

GOV.UK more than OK

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Britain is one of the most advanced digital economies in the world. The British Government’s Chief Technology Officer, Liam Maxwell, was in Canberra this week to brief Australian ministers and officials on some of the latest developments in the UK. He described how all of the many different departmental websites had moved successfully onto a single platform – gov.uk – winner of the 2013 Design of the Year award. Thomas … Read more »GOV.UK more than OK

Celebrating the Queen’s Birthday with the Governor General

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Australia’s new Governor General, Sir Peter Cosgrove, is clearly enjoying his role. He gave a very warm speech at a dinner in Canberra last night, hosted by the Royal Commonwealth Society and the Australia Britain Society (of which I am the Patron) to celebrate the birthday of HM The Queen. The Governor General used the occasion to talk about some of the individual recipients of Australian awards announced in the … Read more »Celebrating the Queen’s Birthday with the Governor General

#TimeToAct – emblazoned across the Australian sky

Parliament House, Canberra

I’m not a fan of hot air. Although when you’re floating in a balloon over Australia’s capital city Canberra, and it’s the only thing keeping you up there, you’re rather glad of it. The balloon was emblazoned with the hashtag #TimeToAct. We were drawing attention to the Global Summit on Ending Sexual Violence in Conflict, which is taking place in London this week. It is the biggest ever summit of … Read more »#TimeToAct – emblazoned across the Australian sky

British MPs in Canberra discuss Malaria and Foreign Policy

Herve Verhoosel, The Hon Julie Bishop, The Rt Hon Stephen O'Brien and HE Paul Madden

A busy week in Canberra with two separate visits by Members of the House of Commons. The Rt Hon Stephen O’Brien MP, the PM’s Special Representative for the Sahel, was in Australia in his capacity as envoy for the Roll Back Malaria campaign. He is a passionate advocate for the cause and believes there is an opportunity for the world to substantially eradicate Malaria in this generation. He had just … Read more »British MPs in Canberra discuss Malaria and Foreign Policy

Australia sets scene for London Global Summit on Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict

HE Paul Madden and The Hon Julie Bishop

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and I co-hosted a Dialogue on Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict at Parliament House yesterday. It was well timed, just a week before the London summit from 10-13 June. Julie is one of 14 global champions for the PSVI initiative, including presidents, prime ministers and foreign ministers from a diverse range of countries. In her opening remarks the Foreign Minister paid tribute to William Hague’s initiative … Read more »Australia sets scene for London Global Summit on Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict

Briefing the Party Room

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop invited me to address the Coalition “Party Room” last night. Around a quarter of the party’s parliamentary members attended. I talked about three things. – What’s going on in the UK – the recent European election results, the forthcoming Scottish referendum, and the return to sustainable economic growth – UK thinking on major current international issues: Ukraine, Syria, Thailand, Nigeria – The UK/Australia relationship – the … Read more »Briefing the Party Room

Keeping up Appearances at the High Commission

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Hyacinth Bucket came to dinner last night. Well actually it was actress Patricia Routledge CBE. In a distinguished career she has done everything from the Royal Shakespeare Company to Broadway musicals and Coronation Street. But it was as the socially pretentious Hyacinth Bucket (“pronounced Bouquet”) that she really became a household name around the world. She is currently touring Australia in a charming piece based on the life of Myra … Read more »Keeping up Appearances at the High Commission