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

Media Release

FA120 20 September 2005

Diplomatic Appointment: Ambassador to Chile

I have today announced the appointment of Crispin Conroy as Ambassador to the Republic of Chile. Mr Conroy will succeed Ms Elizabeth Schick, who has been Ambassador since January 2002. He is expected to take up his appointment in January 2006.

Relations between Australia and Chile are strong, anchored by significant Australian investment in Chile and a large community in Australia of Chilean origin. Recent high-level visits have underlined the importance and vitality of the bilateral relationship. The Chilean President, HE Mr Ricardo Lagos, visited Australia in July this year, following a visit by Prime Minister Howard to Chile in November 2004.

Chile is Australia's second largest merchandise export market in South America with some 120 Australian companies actively trading in a broad range of sectors. Australian interests are diversifying in Chile. In addition to the traditional mining sector, there is potential for further cooperation, for example, in agribusiness, education and energy. Australia and Chile are working to advance the bilateral economic and commercial relationship, including through the Australia-Chile Bilateral Trade and Investment Commission and the Council on Australia Latin America Relations (COALAR). We also work closely together in multilateral forums including APEC and the United Nations, and cooperate on issues such as regional security, the environment and illegal fishing. Australia and Chile are major agricultural exporters and push for agricultural trade liberalisation as members of the Cairns Group.

Mr Conroy is a senior career officer with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and is currently Deputy High Commissioner at the Australian High Commission, Port Moresby, a position he has held since November 2003. Prior to this, in Canberra, he was Director, Sea Law, Environmental Law and Antarctic Policy Section (May-November 2003) and worked on the Iraq Task Force (February-May 2003). Mr Conroy has also held the position of Deputy Legal Adviser and Director of the International Law Section (1998–99), as well as various other positions in the Department.

Overseas, Mr Conroy has served as Australia's Ambassador to the Kingdom of Nepal (1999-2002); First Secretary (then Counsellor), Australian Permanent Mission to the United Nations, Geneva (1995-98); and Third Secretary (then Second Secretary), Australian Embassy, Madrid (1990-93).

Mr Conroy was born in 1963 and grew up in Sydney. He has a Bachelor of Law (Hons) and a Bachelor of Arts in French language and civilization (Hons), as well as a Master of Laws (specialising in international law), from the Australian National University. He is married with two daughters.

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

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