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

Joint Media Release

FA27 / 28 February 2002

Ambassador for People Smuggling Issues

I have announced today the establishment of the new position of Ambassador for People Smuggling Issues, which will be located in my Department. I have recommended to the Governor-General the appointment of Mr John Buckley to this new position.

The Ambassador for People Smuggling Issues will be responsible for promoting a coherent and effective international approach to combating people smuggling, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region, and to assist as appropriate in the negotiation of high-level return, readmission and resettlement arrangements. The Ambassador will also be tasked with following-up on the results of the highly successful Regional Ministerial Conference on People Smuggling, Trafficking in Persons and Related Transnational Crime, which concludes today in Bali, Indonesia.

The establishment of the position of Ambassador for People Smuggling Issues underlines the Government's strong commitment to combating the problem of irregular migration and people smuggling. The Bali Ministerial Conference, which I had the honour to co-chair with my Indonesian counterpart, provides a strong foundation for cooperation with the countries of our region to address the problem. The Ambassador for People Smuggling Issues will build on this foundation and work with these countries and the international community more broadly to promote more effective international approaches to combating people smuggling.

Mr Buckley is a senior departmental officer and is well-qualified to take up this important position. Currently Ambassador in Manila, Mr Buckley has a strong South East Asian background, having served in Jakarta (1973-75) and Bangkok (1979-82). He also has multilateral experience, having served as Minister GATT in Geneva from 1992 to 1995. In Canberra, he has been First Assistant Secretary of the Passports, Services and Security Divison (1998-9) and Assistant Secretary of the Resources Branch (1989-92), Trade Policy Issues and Industrials Branch (1995-97) and Workplace Relations Taskforce (1997-98).

Mr Buckley has also worked in the Indonesia, Immigration and Philippines/Thailand/Burma Sections of the Department and has served in the Department of Finance (1984-89).

A graduate of the University of Adelaide (Bachelor of Arts (Hons)), Mr Buckley joined the Department in 1973. He is 57 years old and married with two children.

Media inquiries: Julie McDonald (Departmental) 02 6261 1555


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