FA 3 - 7 January 2000

Diplomatic Appointment: Ambassador to Austria

I have today announced the appointment of Mr Max William Hughes as Australia's Ambassador to the Republic of Austria and Permanent Representative to international organisations with headquarters in Vienna. He will have concurrent accreditation as Ambassador to Slovenia, Slovakia and Bosnia-Herzegovina and replaces Mr Lance Joseph who has been Ambassador since December 1996.

Mr Hughes will be accredited to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the United Nations office in Vienna which includes, inter alia, the UN Drug Control Program (UNDCP). Mr Hughes will also be Australia's Governor on the IAEA Board of Governors and Permanent Representative to the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organisation (CTBTO).

Relations between Australia and Austria are strong and characterised by cooperation on a range of European and multilateral issues. As the location of several international organisations, Vienna is a hub of multilateral activity with respect to the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons, the safe management of the civil nuclear industry and nuclear disarmament. Vienna also hosts several export-control regimes, the UN Drug Control Program and organisations related to crime prevention, trade law, industrial development, the management of outer space, European security and global oil production. Australia takes an active interest in all these organisations.

Australia's relations with Slovenia, Slovakia and Bosnia-Herzegovina are supported by strong community links in Australia. Mr Hughes will continue to develop relations with these countries at the political, economic and cultural levels.

Australia has been a long-standing supporter of the IAEA, particularly in its pursuit of non-proliferation objectives and in its promotion of peaceful uses of nuclear energy. One of Mr Hughes' key tasks will be to contribute to the Agency's efforts to strengthen the international nuclear safeguards system. As Australia's representative accredited to the CTBTO, he will also work on the political and practical aspects of bringing the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty into force. Mr Hughes will be working closely too with the UNDCP in seeking to reduce the production, trafficking and consumption of illicit narcotics.

Mr Hughes, a senior career officer of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, joined the Department in 1965. Following overseas assignments at Australian diplomatic missions in Bonn (1966-69), Washington (1971-74), Kuala Lumpur (1977-79) and Port Moresby (1979-82), Mr Hughes served as Australian Ambassador to Poland (1985-87), as Minister at the Embassy in Washington (1987-90) and Ambassador to Germany (1995-99). Mr Hughes has also occupied a number of senior positions in the Department including in corporate management and the handling of relations with the US, Europe and the UN.

Mr Hughes has a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of New South Wales. He was born in Sydney in 1939 and is married with three daughters.

Media Enquiries: Departmental - Julie McDonald(02) 6261 1555

Local Date: Tuesday, 07-Jan-2014 10:35:12 EST