The Hon. Alexander Downer, MP
The Hon. Alexander Downer, MP

Media release

Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs, Alexander Downer
17 May 2000

Diplomatic Appointment: Ambassador to Denmark

Following the Australian Government's decision to reopen our Embassy in Copenhagen, I have today announced the appointment of Dr Malcolm Leader as Australian Ambassador to the Kingdom of Denmark. He is expected to take up his appointment in September 2000.

Dr Leader will replace Mr Stephen Brady, Ambassador to Sweden, who has had non-resident responsibility as Ambassador to Denmark.

Denmark is an important export destination for Australian exporters, especially coal and the expanding wine sector. Australia's relationship with Denmark is also characterised by strong people-to-people links, with a sizeable Danish community resident in Australia.

Relations with Demark are also important to Australia's wider interests in Europe given that Denmark advocates a liberal European Union trade policy and is an active member of NATO.

Denmark will also assume a greater role in Australia's region when it hosts the Asia-Europe summit meeting in 2002. As one of the world's most generous aid donors, Denmark is a key player in the area of global development.

Dr Leader, a career officer with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, is currently Australia's Ambassador to the Kingdom of Cambodia. He joined the Department in 1971 and subsequently served as Second and Third Secretary in Paris (1972-74) and First Secretary in Port Moresby (1977-79). Dr Leader was Consul-General in Noumea (1980-82) and then served as Minister and Deputy Head of Mission in Paris (1987-91). Whilst in Paris he also served as the Permanent Delegate, Australian Permanent Delegation to UNESCO. Dr Leader was Ambassador in Saudi Arabia (1991-93).

In Canberra, Dr Leader was Assistant Secretary in Resources Branch before taking up his appointment in Cambodia. In 1994 he was a Visiting Fellow with the Department of Modern European Languages at the Australian National University and was also an Honorary Visiting Research Associate with the Department of French Studies at the University of Western Australia.

Dr Leader was born in Perth in 1945 and is married with three children.

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