FA10 / 25 January 2002
Diplomatic Appointment: Ambassador to Vietnam
I have today announced the appointment of Mr Joe Thwaites as Australia's
Ambassador to the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. He will replace
Mr Michael Mann who has been Ambassador since June 1998. Mr
Thwaites is expected to take up his appointment in June 2002.
Australia has a long-standing, warm and diverse relationship with
Vietnam. In recent years, relations have broadened into new
areas such as law enforcement and defence cooperation. Vietnam
is Australia's third-largest aid recipient and 18th largest
trading partner, with two-way trade totalling over A$2.9 billion
in 2000-2001. Australia also values its cooperative and constructive
relations with Vietnam in regional forums such as APEC and ASEAN,
and welcomes Vietnam's progress towards accession to the WTO.
People-to-people links between our two countries are strong.
Some 200,000 Australians of Vietnamese origin make a significant
and positive contribution to Australian society and 4500-5000 Vietnamese
students study in Australia each year - four times more than in
any other country, also making education our biggest export earner
Mr Thwaites is a senior career officer with the Department of Foreign
Affairs and Trade and is currently First Assistant Secretary, CHOGM
Task Force. He was Assistant Secretary in Pacific Islands
Branch (1998-01) and previously headed the Middle East and Africa
Branch (1998), Staff Planning and Development Branch (1997-98),
Corporate Evaluation Branch (1996-97), New Zealand and Papua New
Guinea Branch (1994-95) and Americas Branch (1989). In 1988-89,
he was Senior Adviser to the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade,
Senator Gareth Evans.
Overseas, Mr Thwaites served as High Commissioner to Zimbabwe (1990-93)
with concurrent accreditation to Angola, Botswana, Malawi, Mozambique,
Namibia and Zambia. He was previously posted to the Australian
Mission to the United Nations, New York (1982-85), and to the Australian
High Commission, New Delhi (1976-78).
Educated at Melbourne University and the Australian National University,
Mr Thwaites holds a Bachelor of Arts degree with honours in Politics/History
and a Master of International Law. He is married with two
Tuesday, 07-Jan-2014 10:30:53 EST