The Hon. Alexander Downer, MP
The Hon. Alexander Downer, MP
 FORMER MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS, AUSTRALIA

Media Release

FA44 - 2 May 2003

Diplomatic appointment: High Commissioner to New Zealand

 I have today announced the appointment of Dr Allan Hawke as Australia’s High Commissioner to New Zealand.  He will replace Mr Bob Cotton who has been High Commissioner since February 2000.  Dr Hawke is expected to take up his appointment in August 2003.

Australia’s relationship with New Zealand is of the first order of importance.  The two countries share a common heritage and links between Australian and New Zealand societies continue to strengthen.  These links are reflected in well-developed inter-governmental cooperation and consultation across a full range of issues, a process which the 1983 Closer Economic Relations Trade agreement and associated arrangements has greatly enhanced.  New Zealand is now Australia’s fifth largest trading partner.  Both countries work closely together in pursuit of their shared interests in the Asia-Pacific region and more broadly internationally.

Dr Hawke is currently Head of the Secretariat for the Review of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission.  He joined the Australian Public Service in 1974, working for the Public Service Board for some 10 years and then in various positions in the Department of Community Services and Health and the Department of Defence where he became a Deputy Secretary in 1991.  He undertook a short assignment as Chief of Staff to the Prime Minister beginning in August 1993.  Immediately prior to his appointment as Secretary to the Department of Veterans’Affairs in April 1994, he served as a Deputy Secretary in the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.  He was appointed Secretary to the Department of Transport and Regional Services in March 1996 and completed a three-year term as Secretary of Defence in October 2002.

Educated in Queanbeyan and at the Australian National University, Dr Hawke holds a 1st Class Honours degree and Doctor of Philosophy in biological sciences. 

Media inquiries: Chris Kenny (Ministerial) +61 02 6277 7500 / Julie McDonald (Departmental) 02 6261 1555