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


Media Release

29 December 2006

Ambassador for People Smuggling

I have today announced the appointment of Mr Michael Potts as Australia’s Ambassador for People Smuggling Issues.  Mr Potts replaces Ms Lydia Morton, who has been Ambassador since December 2005.  The appointment, which will take effect in January 2007, underlines the Government’s strong ongoing commitment to regional cooperation to combat people smuggling, human trafficking 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 these crimes, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region. Mr Potts will continue to promote a coordinated, whole-of-government approach to Australia’s engagement with the Bali Process on People Smuggling, Trafficking in Persons and Related Transnational Crime, which Australia co-chairs with Indonesia.

Mr Potts will work closely with other governments, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees and the International Organization for Migration, to take forward the practical measures adopted under the Bali Process, including the promotion of regional and international cooperation between key operational agencies.

Mr Potts was most recently High Commissioner in Port Moresby (2003-06).  Prior to this he was First Assistant Secretary, International Division of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.  Other positions he has held in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade include First Assistant Secretary, International Organisations and Legal Division; Assistant Secretary, Trade Policy Issues and Industrials Branch; Assistant Secretary, Mainland South-East Asia Branch and Assistant Secretary, ASEAN Bilateral Branch.

Mr Potts has also served as Ambassador in Hanoi; Counsellor, Australian Mission to the United Nations in New York and Acting High Commissioner in Lusaka, Zambia.

Mr Potts holds a Bachelor of Arts degree with First Class Honours in History from the University of Sydney. He is married.

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

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