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

Media Release

FA158 - 29 November 2004 

Diplomatic Appointment: High Commissioner to Canada

I have today announced the appointment of Mr Bill Fisher as Australia's High Commissioner to Canada. Mr Fisher will replace Mr Tony Hely, who has been High Commissioner since July 2001. Mr Fisher is expected to take up his appointment in February 2005.

Australia and Canada enjoy a close, constructive and broadly based bilateral relationship. Trade relations date back over one hundred years and formal diplomatic links are more than sixty years old. We share common values and traditions, in addition to many international and domestic policy objectives. We work closely together in international fora, including in the United Nations, WTO, APEC and the Commonwealth. Our bilateral arrangements on consular assistance are of considerable importance in extending both countries' consular coverage abroad.

Canada is Australia's 17th largest trading partner. In 2003-04, Australia's two-way merchandise trade with Canada was valued at $3.6 billion. Major exports to Canada include alumina, nickel ores, sugar, wine and beef. Investment ties between Australia and Canada have grown substantially - Australian investment in Canada was $5.5 billion and Canadian investment in Australia $8.4 billion in December 2003. A large number of Australian companies are active in the Canadian mining, transportation and packaging sectors. There is scope for a substantial growth in two-way trade and investment.

Mr Fisher is a career diplomat with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and is currently serving as Ambassador to France. He has served abroad as Ambassador to Thailand (1997-2000); Ambassador to Israel (1990-93); Consul-General in Honolulu (1983-87); Chargé d'Affaires in Tehran (1982-83); Consul in Port Vila (1978-80); and Consul in Noumea (1975-78).

In Canberra, Mr Fisher's placements include First Assistant Secretary, Public Affairs Division (1996-97); Consular Programs and Security Division (1995-96); and International Organisations and Legal Division (1994-95). He was Principal Adviser, Americas and Europe Division (1989-90); Assistant Secretary, Executive Secretariat (1988-89); Head, South Pacific Section (1980-81). He also held the position of Assistant Secretary, Defence Branch of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (1987-88).

Mr Fisher was born in Canberra in 1946. He holds a Bachelor of Economics degree with honours from the Australia National University and is married with one daughter.

Media Inquiries: Mr Downer's office 02 6277 7500 - DFAT Media Liaison 02 6261 1555


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