18 February 1999

Diplomatic Appointment: Ambassador For Disarmament

I have today announced the appointment of Mr Les Luck as Ambassador for Disarmament and Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Australia to the United Nations at Geneva. He will succeed Mr John Campbell who has been Ambassador since September 1996. Mr Luck is expected to take up his appointment in March 1999.

The Ambassador for Disarmament is responsible for pursuing Australia's interests in the negotiation of arms control and disarmament agreements in the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva, as well as in other international fora, such as the First Committee of the UN General Assembly and the UN Disarmament Commission. Australia has a distinguished record in this area, having played a key role in the conclusion of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), the indefinite extension of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and in the negotiation and adoption of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT).

The Government attaches a high priority to Australia making a practical and realistic contribution to global disarmament and non-proliferation efforts. This activity serves direct Australian security interests, one of the Government's key foreign policy goals.

The Government's principal arms control objectives for the near term are to strengthen the non-proliferation and disarmament regime through the 2000 NPT Review Conference, particularly in response to the challenge posed by the nuclear tests in South Asia and North Korea's nuclear and missile programs. Good early progress in the negotiation of a Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty and the negotiation of an effective verification regime for the Biological Weapons Convention are particular priorities.

The Government will also continue to pursue the negotiation in the Conference on Disarmament of a global ban on landmines transfers to complement the Ottawa landmines ban Convention which Australia ratified on 14 January 1999.

In addition to his disarmament responsibilities, Mr Luck, as Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva, will be responsible for a range of other UN issues, in particular advancing Australia's interests in the promotion and protection of human rights.

Les Luck joined the then Department of Foreign Affairs in 1971. He has been engaged closely with the implementation of Australia's foreign and trade policy objectives in South East Asia and, in recent years, in the field of nuclear non-proliferation and other aspects of Australia's international security policy. He served in the Australian High Commission in Singapore from 1987 to 1991 and previously in Australian diplomatic missions in Addis Ababa, Nairobi, Vienna and Bangkok.

Since March 1998 he has been the Department's Senior Spokesman with responsibilities for relations with the Parliament and the media. Mr Luck holds a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) degree from Flinders University. He was born in 1948. He is married to Jennifer and has a son Matthew and a daughter Emily.

For further information: 

Minister - Innes Willox 6277 7500 or
Department - Tony Melville/Geoff Leach 6261 1555/6

Local Date: Tuesday, 07-Jan-2014 10:36:40 EST

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