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

Media Release

FA127 - 26 August 2004

Diplomatic Appointment: Ambassador to Greece

I have today announced the appointment of Paul Tighe as Australian Ambassador to the Hellenic Republic, with concurrent accreditation to the Republic of Albania and the Republic of Bulgaria.

Mr Tighe will replace Stuart Hume who has been Ambassador since July 2001. Mr Tighe is expected to take up his appointment in January 2005.

Australia and Greece enjoy a friendly bilateral relationship based on strong community links, important historical connections, shared values of democracy, respect for human rights and participation in the world's major international institutions. With approximately 600,000 Australians of Greek background, our links with Greece are wide and diverse. In addition to our bilateral links, Australia engages with Greece in its capacity as a member of the European Union and as a long-standing member of the NATO alliance.

Australia has maintained a diplomatic presence in Athens since 1955. The Embassy in Athens provides comprehensive consular services to the estimated 100,000 Australians regularly in Greece during the European summer, and for those attending this year's Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Mr Tighe takes up his appointment at a time of expanding commercial, cultural and sporting contacts with Greece. Australian companies recently won contracts related to the Olympic Games valued at a total of around A$200 million. Australia's exports to Greece have included Australian-built fast ferries now in service on inter-island routes and increased volumes of crustaceans, medical instruments and textiles. Trade with Albania and Bulgaria is small but showing positive growth.

Mr Tighe is a senior officer with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and is currently First Assistant Secretary, Trade Development Division. Overseas, Mr Tighe has served as Counsellor in the Australian Delegation to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Paris (1991-95); and as Minister and Deputy Head of Mission, Bangkok and Permanent Representative to the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (1998-2001).

In Canberra, Mr Tighe has held a range of positions, including: First Assistant Secretary, Diplomatic Security, Information Management and Services Division; Assistant Secretary, Agriculture and Resources Branch; and Director, International Economic Analysis Section. Before joining the Department Mr Tighe worked in the Australian Treasury; the Secretariat of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development in Paris; and the Industries Assistance Commission.

Mr Tighe was educated at the University of New South Wales and holds a Bachelor of Science degree with First Class Honours. He will be accompanied by his wife.

Media inquiries: Chris Kenny (Ministerial) 02 6277 7500 - Julie McDonald (DFAT) 02 6261 1555

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