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

Media Release

FA159 - 19 December 2005

Diplomatic Appointment - Ambassador For People Smuggling Issues

I have announced today the appointment of Lydia Morton as Australia's Ambassador for People Smuggling Issues. Ms Morton replaces Ms Caroline Millar, who has been Ambassador since July 2003. The appointment will take effect immediately and reaffirms the Government's strong commitment to regional cooperation in combating people smuggling, trafficking in persons and related transnational crime.

The Ambassador for People Smuggling Issues is responsible for high-level advocacy of Australia's interests in promoting effective and practical international cooperation to combat people smuggling and trafficking in persons, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region.

In this role Ms Morton will promote a coordinated, whole-of-government approach to the continued implementation of the outcomes of the successful second Regional Ministerial Conference on People Smuggling, Trafficking in Persons and Related Transnational Crime, held in Bali from 29 to 30 April 2003. She will also work closely with other Governments, notably Indonesia (as co-chair) and with the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees and the International Organization for Migration, to implement the practical measures agreed to by Ministers at the Conference, including by promoting regional and international cooperation on these measures between relevant operational agencies.

Ms Morton is currently First Assistant Secretary, International Organisations and Legal Division. Prior to taking up this position she was First Assistant Secretary, North Asia Division (2004-05). Ms Morton has served overseas as Deputy Head of Mission, Australian Embassy, Beijing (2000-03), Counsellor, Australian Embassy, Paris (1994-97), Counsellor, Australian Embassy, Seoul (1988-90), and Third Secretary, Australian Embassy, Brussels (1974-77).

In Canberra, Ms Morton has served as Assistant Secretary, East Asia Branch (1999-2000), Assistant Secretary, Diplomatic Security Branch (1998-99), Director, Administrative and Domestic Law Group (1997-98) and Director, Audit and Evaluation Section (1991-93).

Ms Morton is a graduate of the University of Melbourne (BA Hons) and the Australian National University (LLB). She speaks French, Chinese and German. She has three daughters.

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

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