MEDIA RELEASE

MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS
ALEXANDER DOWNER





FA91
10 SEPTEMBER 1996

APPOINTMENT OF CONSUL-GENERAL lN NEW YORK


I am pleased to announce today the appointment of Mr Michael Baume as Australia's Consul-General in New York. He will replace Mr Jim Humphreys, who has been Consul-General since 1993.

Mr Baume's background in politics, business, the media and the arts brings a wealth of experience to the position.

Mr Baume, who was member of the House of Representatives from 1975-83 and Federal Senator for NSW since 1985, resigned from the Senate yesterday. While MP for Macarthur in the Fraser Government, Mr Baume was Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer, and then became senior adviser to the Deputy Leader of the Opposition before being elected to the Senate.

While a Senator, he held the following positions in the Shadow Ministry: Arts, Heritage, Sport and Youth Affairs (1990-93), Secretary to the Shadow Cabinet (1988-89), and Health (1987). He was Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Opposition (1986-87) and, chaired the Coalition's Waste Watch committee. From September to December 1993 he was an Australian Parliamentary Representative to the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

Before entering parliament Mr Baume, who is a graduate of the University of Sydney and a sporting "Blue", was a leading finance journalist, music reviewer, author, radio commentator, television panellist and stockbroker. For more than a decade, he was a director of two public companies, which, among other things, exported meat and wine to the United States.

The Consulate-General has responsibility for advancing Australia's profile and interests with business, media, political and cultural circles in New York itself and in the north-eastern corner of the United States. Its most important function is to promote productive two-way investment and commercial linkages, and particularly to encourage and facilitate US investment in Australia as a base for operations in East Asia.

The Consulate maintains extensive contacts with the New York-based media agencies with the aim of influencing images and perceptions of Australia and raising awareness of Asia Pacific issues.

The Consulate is a major provider of consular and passport services, with around 150,000 Australians visiting the area each year and 60,000 New York-based individuals visiting Australia.