Australian Commonwealth Coat of Arms

Media release

6 August 2008

Diplomatic Appointment - High Commissioner to Canada

Mr Justin Brown is to be Australia’s new High Commissioner to Canada. Mr Brown is expected to take up his appointment in November 2008 succeeding Mr Bill Fisher who has been High Commissioner since March 2005.

Canada is a country of particular importance to Australia. Australia and Canada enjoy a very friendly, constructive and broadly based bilateral relationship. Trade relations date back over one hundred years and formal diplomatic links were established in 1940.

The common values and traditions shared by Australia and Canada are fundamental to informing the way both countries operate in dealing with major public policy challenges, such as climate change and energy security. The Canada-Australia dialogue is an important vehicle in this process.

Australia works very closely with Canada in a range of international fora, particularly the United Nations, the Commonwealth, APEC, the WTO and the OECD. Canada is an important member of the Cairns Group of agricultural exporting nations. The bilateral arrangements on consular assistance are a special feature of Australia’s links with Canada and enable much wider consular coverage across the globe for citizens of both countries.

Australian and Canadian military forces fought side-by-side in both World Wars, the Korean War and in the 1990-91 Gulf War. Both countries have forces in Afghanistan, making a valuable contribution to the stabilisation of that country. As close military allies, Australia and Canada work together to counter potential global terrorist threats through technical cooperation, information-sharing, exchanges of personnel and joint training.

Australia and Canada enjoy substantial trade and investment links. Bilateral merchandise trade in 2007 was valued at around A$3.8 billion and there is significant two-way investment. Strong people-to-people links also enhance our relationship, with many Australians and Canadians enjoying working holidays, cultural exchanges and international study programs in both countries.

Mr Brown was most recently Head of the Secretariat to the Review of Export Policies and Programs. In 2006-07 he was a member of the Secretariat to the Prime Ministerial Task Group on Emissions Trading and was subsequently involved in APEC work on climate change.

Other positions held by Mr Brown in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade include: First Assistant Secretary, Trade Development Division (September to December 2006); Ambassador for the Environment (2004); Head of the Asia Trade Task Force, when he was chief negotiator in trade negotiations with Thailand and Japan (2002 to 2004); Assistant Secretary, WTO Trade Law Branch (2001 to 2002); Assistant Secretary, Europe Branch (1997 to 1998); and Assistant Secretary, Americas Branch (1994 to 1997).

Overseas, Mr Brown has served as Consul‑General in Los Angeles (2006), Deputy Head of Mission to the European Union in Brussels (1999-2001) and First Secretary in Copenhagen (1988-91).

Mr Brown holds a Bachelor of Economics degree from the University of New England and speaks French.

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