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

Media Release

FA147 - 7 December 2005

Diplomatic Appointment: Consul-General in New York

I have today announced the appointment of the Hon John Olsen as Australia's Consul-General in New York. Mr Olsen will replace Mr Ken Allen, who has been Consul-General since 2001.

The Consulate-General has a wide range of responsibilities in New York and in the north-eastern corner of the United States, including the promotion of Australia's profile and interests in influential business, media, political and cultural circles. It plays an active role in deepening two-way investment and commercial links, including through the Australia - United States Free Trade Agreement. It works closely with leading New York financial institutions to promote Australia as a Global Financial Centre and a base for business operations in East Asia.

The Consulate-General aims to influence perceptions of Australia, and raise awareness of Asia Pacific issues, through its extensive contacts with New York-based media and cultural agencies. It is also a major provider of consular and passport services to Australians, as was evidenced in the aftermath of the terror attacks on New York on 11 September 2001.

Mr Olsen is currently Australia’s Consul-General in Los Angeles, a post he has held since November 2002. In this position he has been an impressive advocate for Australia. Prior to this Mr Olsen had a distinguished parliamentary career as Premier of South Australia and Minister for State Development and Minister for Multicultural and Ethnic Affairs from November 1996 to October 2001. He was South Australia’s Minister for Infrastructure from 1993 to 1996. From 1990 to 1992, Mr Olsen was appointed to the Federal Senate. Prior to that, he was Leader of the Opposition in South Australia from 1982 to 1990 and Chief Secretary and Minister for Police, Correctional Services and Fisheries from 1982. He joined the South Australian Parliament in 1979.

Mr Olsen is married with three children.

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

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