Today I announce the appointment of the Hon Dr Brett Mason as Australia's next Ambassador to the Netherlands.

Australia and the Netherlands enjoy a friendly and mature relationship founded on shared values and strong people-to-people links.  We cooperate closely on counter-terrorism, disarmament and non-proliferation, human rights and international development, with our ties further cemented by shared grief and resolve following the MH17 tragedy. The Netherlands is an important economic partner for Australia - our fourth largest source of foreign direct investment ($29.4 billion in 2013) and our third largest export market in Europe.

Dr Mason will be Australia’s Permanent Representative to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.  He will also be Australia’s diplomatic representative to the Permanent Court of Arbitration and in international legal bodies located in The Hague, including the International Criminal Court, the International Court of Justice and other specialist legal tribunals.

Dr Mason served as Senator for Queensland from 1 July 1999 to 15 April 2015.  He was Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Foreign Affairs, The Hon Julie Bishop MP, from September 2013 to December 2014.  He also served as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Health and Ageing in the Howard Government from March to December 2007.

Before entering Federal Parliament, Dr Mason was a Criminology lecturer at the Queensland University of Technology; a Human Rights Officer with the United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia; and a Commonwealth Prosecutor. He holds a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Laws with Honours from ANU, a Masters in Philosophy (Criminology) from Cambridge University and a Doctor of Philosophy (Legal Theory) from Griffith University.

Subject to the agreement of the Government of the Netherlands, Dr Mason will take up his appointment in mid-2015.  I thank outgoing Ambassador Mr Neil Mules AO for his outstanding work in advancing Australia’s interests in The Hague, particularly during the MH17 tragedy.

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