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

Media Release

FA79 - 22 June 2005

Diplomatic Appointment: Consul-General in Ho Chi Minh City

I am pleased to announce the appointment of Mal Skelly as Australia's Consul-General in Ho Chi Minh City. Mr Skelly will replace Stephen Henningham, who has been Consul-General since August 2001. He is expected to take up his appointment in August 2005.

Australia's bilateral relationship with Vietnam is economically, strategically and politically important. Defence, trade and investment ties are expanding rapidly, as is cooperation on counter terrorism and other transnational crime, including narcotics trafficking, people smuggling and people trafficking.

Total two-way trade in goods and services rose almost 15 per cent in 2004, reaching an all time high of $3.7 billion, while Australian investment stood at around $850 million, mainly in the food processing and heavy industry sectors. Development cooperation ties are long-standing and strong, with Vietnam the fourth largest recipient of Australian development assistance. Education, tourism and other people-to-people links are also significant, with Australia being a preferred destination for Vietnamese studying abroad and more than 105,000 Australians visiting Vietnam last year.

Mr Skelly is a senior staff member of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and is currently Assistant Secretary, Information and Communication Technology Branch, a position he has held since April 2002. Mr Skelly has held a variety of positions in Canberra including Director, Arabian Peninsula, Iran and Iraq Section (1994-1997), Director, Financial Management Section (1990-1994), Executive Officer, Pay and Conditions Section (1986-1987), Executive Officer, Overseas Living Allowances Taskforce (1985-1986), Executive Officer, Organisational and Management Review Section, (1984-1985), and Desk Officer, Internal and Overseas Audit Section (1975). Mr Skelly joined the Department of Foreign Affairs as a Consular and Administrative Trainee in 1970.

Mr Skelly has served overseas as Consul-General, Geneva (1998-2001), Counsellor, Manila (1987-1990), First Secretary, Cairo (1982-1984), Second Secretary, Athens (1978-1981), Second Secretary, Lima (1975-1978), Attache, Ankara (1972-1974), and Attache, Ottawa (1971-1972).

Mr Skelly was born in Beaudesert in 1948. He holds a Bachelor of Arts and Associate Diploma in Policy Studies from the Australian National University. He is married and has two sons.

Media inquiries : Ministerial 02 6277 7500, DFAT Media Liaison 02 6261 1555


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