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

Media Release

FA040 - 27 April 2006

Diplomatic appointment - Ambassador to Austria

I have today announced the appointment of Mr Peter Shannon as Australia's Ambassador to the Republic of Austria and Permanent Representative to international organisations with headquarters in Vienna. He replaces Ms Deborah Stokes who has been Ambassador since June 2003. He is expected to take up his appointment in July 2006.

Vienna is a centre for multilateral activity in respect of nuclear non-proliferation and the safe and secure application of civil nuclear technology. Mr Shannon will be Australia's Governor on the Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and Permanent Representative to the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organisation (CTBTO) Preparatory Commission. Australia is a strong supporter of the efforts of the IAEA to strengthen the international nuclear safeguards system and an active promoter of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. He will advance Australia's interests in a number of other multilateral bodies based in Vienna including export control regimes for sensitive technologies.

Mr Shannon will be accredited to the United Nations Office in Vienna which includes the UN Office on Drugs and Crime and the International Narcotics Control Board. Australia supports the efforts of both offices to reduce the production, trafficking and consumption of illicit narcotics.

Australia and Austria enjoy good relations, characterised by cooperation on a range of bilateral, European and multilateral issues. Social and cultural links also underpin the relationship.

Mr Shannon was most recently Assistant Secretary, Arms Control and Counter-Proliferation Branch, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (2002-05). He has held a number of positions in Canberra including Assistant Secretary, Americas Branch (1999-2002), Deputy Legal Adviser, Legal Branch (1991-92), Director, Multilateral Law Section (1989-90) and Director, Law of the Sea Section (1984-86).

Overseas Mr Shannon has served as Minister and Permanent Delegate to UNESCO, Australian Embassy and Permanent Mission to UNESCO, Paris (1996-99), High Commissioner to the Republic of Vanuatu (1992-96), Counsellor, Australian Embassy, Belgrade (1986-89), Second later First Secretary, Australian Embassy, Washington (1981-84), and Vice-Consul, Australian Consulate-General, New Caledonia (1975-78).

Mr Shannon was born in Melbourne in 1949. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree and a Bachelor of Laws degree from the University of Sydney and has been admitted to practice as a solicitor in the Supreme Court of New South Wales. He speaks French and Bislama (Melanesian Pidgin). He is married and has one son.

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

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