I have today announced the appointment of Mr Rory Steele as Australian Ambassador
to the Republic of Italy.
Mr Steele will replace Mr Lance Joseph, who has been Ambassador since September
Australia and Italy enjoy a friendly and cooperative relationship, largely
based on trade and migration links. We share similar views on many global
issues including human rights and disarmament. Some 800,000 Australians
claim Italian ancestry, creating a wide network of people to people contacts
and cultural links. Italy is also important to Australia as an export destination
- it is our largest market in Continental Europe and our thirteenth largest
market overall. Australia's major bilateral agreements with Italy include
double taxation, economic and commercial cooperation, science and technology,
reciprocal social security and health care and film co-production. A Memorandum
of Understanding covering Defence Industry Relationships was signed in 1995.
Mr Steele will also take up the position of Australian Permanent Representative
to the Food and Agriculture Organisation, a Specialised Agency of the United
Nations which is based in Rome. Australia, as a major food producer and
agricultural trading nation, was a founding member of the FAO and has supported
the work of the Organisation in its roles as an international forum on food
issues and as a collector and disseminator of information about agriculture,
fisheries and forest industries. Mr Steele will be seeking to maintain
Australia's reputation as a supplier of agricultural products and technology
and as a participant in the work of the FAO in areas such as agricultural
trade, fisheries management, genetic resources,
pesticide use and sustainable development.
Mr Steele joined the Department of External Affairs in 1969. He previously
lived in Italy from 1954-55, and again from 1964-65 when he taught at the
Liceo Scientifico Mercalli in Naples. After overseas postings in Australian
missions in Accra, Seoul, Cairo and Geneva, he was Ambassador in Baghdad
(1986-88). In Canberra his assignments have included Assistant Secretary,
Strategic Assessments Branch (1991-95) and Head of Secretariat, Canberra
Commission on the Elimination of Nuclear Weapons (1995-96).
Mr Steele was born in Perth in 1943. In 1966 he graduated from the University
of Oxford with an honours degree in Modern Languages, majoring in Italian.
In 1989 he attended the Royal College of Defence Studies, London.