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

Media Release

FA028 - 21 March 2006

Diplomatic Appointment: Ambassador to the United Nations Geneva

I have today announced the appointment of Ms Caroline Millar as Ambassador for Disarmament and Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Australia to the United Nations at Geneva. Ms Millar will succeed Mr Michael Smith who has been Ambassador since April 2002. Ms Millar is currently Charge d'Affaires, Australian Permanent Mission to the United Nations in New York. She is expected to take up her appointment in May 2006.

Ms Millar will be responsible for a range of UN issues in Geneva, including advancing Australia's interests in the field of human rights, in part through the pursuit of the Government's diplomatic initiative to reform the UN Treaty Bodies. She will work actively to ensure that the proposed successor to the Commission on Human Rights, the Human Rights Council, more effectively advances Australia's interests in protecting and promoting human rights and good governance internationally. Ms Millar will also have responsibility for pursuing Australia's interests on refugee issues.

One of the main threats to Australia's security is the spread of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), including the danger that terrorists might one day acquire WMD. A key Government goal is strengthening of global regimes to prevent WMD proliferation, in which Ms Millar in her capacity as Ambassador for Disarmament, will play an important role. She will work to ensure that the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty remains a central pillar of the global non-proliferation and arms control framework, to continue international efforts to enhance the effectiveness of the Biological Weapons Convention and to realise the commencement of negotiations towards a Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty. Ms Millar will be Australia's Permanent Representative to the Conference on Disarmament and will contribute actively across the UN arms control agenda.

As President of the Seventh Meeting of States to the Ottawa Convention, Ms Millar will lead the international community's efforts to address the continuing humanitarian problem of anti‑personnel landmines. This support will include encouraging countries which have yet to do so to join the Convention, and assisting mine-affected countries to meet their mine clearance deadlines.

Ms Millar was most recently First Assistant Secretary, International Organisations and Legal Division, a position she held since November 2002. She has held a number of positions in the department in Canberra including Assistant Secretary, Executive, Planning and Evaluation Branch (2001-02), Assistant Secretary, Trade Policy Issues and Industrials Branch (2000), Director, Non-Proliferation Policy Section (1992‑95) and Executive Officer, Indochina Section (1987-88). Ms Millar was seconded to the Office of National Assessments as Senior Americas Analyst from 1991-1992.

Overseas, Ms Millar has served as Counsellor, Australian Mission to the United Nations in New York (1995-98), First Secretary, Australian Embassy, Washington (1989-91) and Second Secretary, Australian Embassy, Hanoi (1985-87).

Ms Millar was born in 1958 in Melbourne. She holds a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) degree from the University of Cambridge. She is married and has one child.

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

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