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

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Media Release

Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs, Alexander Downer
10 January 2001

Diplomatic Appointment: Ambassador to Hungary

I have today announced the appointment of Mr Leo Cruise as Australia's Ambassador to the Republic of Hungary.  He will replace Dr Mark Higgie, who has been Ambassador since April 1998.  Mr Cruise is expected to take up his position in March 2001.

Australia and Hungary enjoy friendly and constructive relations based on growing commercial links and like-minded views on a range of international issues, including on the WTO and arms control agendas.  The relationship is enriched by an Australian-Hungarian community of some 70,000.

Australia has significant investment in Hungary, and the country's economic dynamism and planned accession to the EU within several years continues to attract Australian investors and joint venture partners in such sectors as cinema multiplexes, hotel development, insurance, education and automotive components.  There are also good prospects of Australian exports to Hungary increasing over the medium term, not only in the high-technology and automotive sectors, where Australian firms are already enjoying success, but also in the energy and resource sectors.  

Mr Cruise is a career officer with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and has served abroad in Switzerland, Laos, Germany and Indonesia.  He previously served in Hungary as Charge d'Affaires for several months when the Australian Embassy was established in Budapest in late 1984.  From 1992 to 1996 he was Australian Deputy Permanent Representative to the OECD and, on his return to Canberra, was seconded to the International Unit of Environment Australia. 

In Canberra, Mr Cruise was most recently Director of the Protocol Services and Protection Section in the Department.  He has also been Personal Assistant to the Secretary, Director of EC/Transport and Communications Section, seconded to the Merit Review Agency (MPRA) and Director of Consular Operations Section.

Educated at the University of New South Wales, Mr Cruise holds a Bachelor of Arts degree with honours.  He was born in the Netherlands and is married with three children.

Media Contact:
Matt Francis (Ministerial) 02 6277 7500 /
Nicole Guihot (Departmental) 02 6261 1555


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