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

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Media Release

Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs, Alexander Downer
27 February 2001

Diplomatic Appointment: Ambassador, Permanent Representative to the United Nations, New York

I have today announced the appointment of Mr John Dauth, LVO, as Australian Ambassador to the United Nations, New York.  Mr Dauth is currently a Deputy Secretary in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Mr Dauth will replace Ms Penny Wensley, AO, who has been Ambassador since September 1997.  He is expected to take up his appointment in August 2001.

Mr Dauth's appointment as Permanent Representative to the UN reflects the continuing importance Australia attaches to the UN and to ensuring that our involvement in the UN serves our national interests. 

His appointment comes at a time of great opportunity for the UN, with its members having reaffirmed at the UN Millennium Summit last September their commitment to the organisation and having pledged to make the UN a more effective world grouping.  For Australia, this means encouraging the UN to strengthen and modernise its role in maintaining international peace and security - a task it has already begun.  It also means encouraging the UN to maintain a program of reform that concentrates on improved efficiency and institutional focus and aligning the organisation's structures more closely with the world of the 21st century.

Mr Dauth was born on 9 April 1947 and was educated at Gosford High School and the University of Sydney.  He joined the then Department of External Affairs in 1969 as an External Affairs Officer, later serving as a Foreign Affairs Officer in Lagos.

In 1974 Mr Dauth was appointed First Secretary and Deputy Head of Mission in Islamabad, after which, from 1977 until 1980, he was seconded to Buckingham Palace as Assistant Press Secretary to the Queen and Press Secretary to the Prince of Wales.

After heading the Commonwealth and Multilateral Organisation Section in the Department of Foreign Affairs in Canberra, Mr Dauth was appointed Charge d'Affaires in the Australian Embassy, Tehran.

Mr Dauth was Consul-General in Noumea in 1986-87 and Assistant Secretary in the Public Affairs Branch of the Department from 1987 until 1989.  He was subsequently Chief of Staff to the Minister for Foreign Affairs from 1989 until 1991.  He then headed the Department's International Security Division before his appointment as High Commissioner to Malaysia (1993-1997).  Subsequently, he headed the South and South East Asia Division of the Department until his promotion to Deputy Secretary in 1998.

Media inquiries: Matt Francis (Ministerial) 02 6277 7500 /
Julie McDonald (Departmental) 02 6261 2534


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