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

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Media Release

Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs, Alexander Downer
6 March 2001

Diplomatic appointment: High Commissioner to Singapore

I have today announced the appointment of Mr Gary Quinlan as Australia's High Commissioner to the Republic of Singapore. Mr Quinlan will succeed Mr Murray McLean who has been High Commissioner since February 1997. He is expected to take up his appointment in July 2001.

Australia and Singapore share much in common in their international outlook, particularly in the areas of trade liberalisation and regional engagement. We have strong commercial links and an active program of high-level government and business exchanges. There are also substantial parliamentary, educational and tourism links.

Singapore is Australia's largest trade and investment partner in South East Asia. Two-way trade in goods and services was more than $13 billion last financial year and Singaporean investment in Australia was estimated at $17.95 billion by end-June 1999. Negotiation of the Australia-Singapore Free Trade Agreement (FTA), currently under way, is destined to build on the strong and expanding economic partnership and to further strengthen the excellent bilateral relationship.

Singapore is the largest source of overseas students enrolled in Australian higher education institutions and is one of our five largest sources of tourists.

Mr Quinlan joined the then-Department of Foreign Affairs in 1973 and is currently First Assistant Secretary in the Department's Americas and Europe Division. He has also served as First Assistant Secretary, Diplomatic Security, Property and Information Management Division (1999-00); Assistant Secretary, East Asia Branch (1996-98); Director, Sea Law and Oceans Policy (1987-88); and Director, Maritime Resources Section (1985-87). He was Head of the Australian Delegation to the Law of the Sea Preparatory Commission in 1986-88.

Mr Quinlan's overseas assignments have been as First Secretary, Australian Mission to the United Nations, New York (1981-85); Australian Deputy Permanent Delegate to UNESCO, Paris (1979-81); and Second Secretary in Dublin (1974-77). He was attached to the Economic Development Institute, World Bank in Washington D.C. (1984).

Mr Quinlan has also served as Chief of Staff to the Minister for Trade (1993-94) and to the Minister for Industry, Science and Technology (1994-96).

Mr Quinlan was educated at the University of Newcastle and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree with honours.

Media inquiries: Matt Francis (Ministerial) 02 62777 500/
Julie McDonald (Departmental) 02 6261 2534


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