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

Media Release

5 March 2007

Diplomatic Appointment: Hungary

Alex Brooking is to be Australia’s new Ambassador to the Republic of Hungary.  Mr Brooking will replace Clare Birgin, who has been Ambassador since May 2004, and is expected to take up his position in May 2007.

Australia and Hungary enjoy friendly and cooperative relations based on growing commercial links and like-minded views on many international issues of common interest.  Hungary has been a strong supporter in the Australia Group and on a range of arms control issues.  The Australian-Hungarian community of approximately 65,000 has been prominent in Australian business, academia and politics.

Since Hungary’s EU accession in 2004, an increasing number of Australian businesses are discovering and exploring Hungary’s potential as a business partner and as a base for operations in the EU.  In 2005-06, bilateral trade was valued at over $225 million.  Australian companies have invested in hotel development, insurance, education and automotive components.  Despite the recent political unrest, prospects for increasing Australian exports to Hungary remain good, especially in the high technology and automotive sectors and in other projects where Australian technology and expertise can add value.  Australian companies are already enjoying success in these areas.  Australian services exports to Hungary, especially tourism and education, are on the increase.

Mr Brooking has held a range of positions in Canberra including Director, Western Europe Section, EU and Western Europe Branch, Director, Northern, Central and Eastern Europe Section and Director, European Communities Section .

Overseas his assignments have included Deputy Head of Mission in Moscow, Counsellor in Brussels, Deputy Consul‑General in Berlin , First Secretary in Budapest and First Secretary in Bonn.

Educated at Macquarie University, Sydney, Mr Brooking holds a Bachelor of Arts and a Diploma of Education.  Mr Brooking joined the public service in 1973.  He is married with two children.  Mr Brooking speaks German, French, Russian, Polish and is familiar with Hungarian.

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

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