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

Media Release

FA101 - 14 August 2003

Diplomatic Appointment - Ambassador For Counter-Terrorism

I announce today the appointment of Mr Les Luck as Australia’s Ambassador for Counter-Terrorism.  He will replace Mr Nick Warner, who was appointed as the inaugural Ambassador in March 2003.  Mr Luck takes up his position immediately.

The Ambassador for Counter-Terrorism provides a focal point for coordinating, promoting and intensifying the Government’s international efforts to combat terrorism.  The Ambassador has a key role in ensuring a comprehensive and integrated policy approach to fighting terrorism and in facilitating cooperation between Australian agencies and their counterparts in other countries on counter-terrorism issues.  The position is also responsible for coordinating the international counter-terrorism capacity-building initiatives of government agencies.

The work of the Ambassador for Counter-Terrorism reflects the continuing high priority the Government attaches to fighting terrorism at home and in our region, and builds on the wide range of bilateral, regional and multilateral measures already taken by the Government since the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States. 

Since the position was established earlier this year, the Ambassador for Counter-Terrorism has facilitated an informal regional ministerial meeting on counter-terrorism issues that I hosted in conjunction with the second Bali People Smuggling Conference; launched negotiations with East Timor and Papua New Guinea on formal bilateral counter-terrorism arrangements which are expected to be signed shortly; negotiated a counter-terrorism assistance package for the Philippines; co-chaired a regional workshop in Darwin on managing the consequences of terrorist attack; and represented Australia at the inaugural meeting of the G8 Counter-Terrorism Action Group in Paris.

Until this appointment, Mr Luck was the First Assistant Secretary of the International Security Division in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, with policy responsibility for arms control and non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, counter-terrorism and aspects of Australia’s strategic relationships.

For three years until April 2002 Mr Luck served as Australian Ambassador for Disarmament and Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva, dealing with international security issues in the Conference on Disarmament and negotiations to strengthen the Biological Weapons Convention and conventional weapons regimes.  He chaired the 2001 Review Conference of the Inhumane Weapons Convention.  As Ambassador to the UN in Geneva he dealt extensively with human rights, indigenous issues, humanitarian, refugees and people-smuggling issues and with the range of UN Specialised Agencies based in Geneva.  From 1993 to 1998 he was head of the Nuclear Policy Branch.

Before his Geneva appointment Mr Luck was the Senior Spokesman of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Canberra with responsibilities for relations with the media and with Parliament.

Mr Luck has been an officer of the department since 1971 with postings to Australian diplomatic missions in Geneva, Singapore, Addis Ababa, Nairobi, Vienna and Bangkok.

Media enquiries: Chris Kenny (Ministerial)  (02) 6277 7500 -  Julie McDonald (Departmental) 02 6261 1555