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Media release

5 September 2008

Diplomatic Appointment - Ambassador for Counter-Terrorism

Mr William (Bill) Paterson has been appointed as Australia's new Ambassador for Counter-Terrorism.  Mr Paterson will take up his position, based in Canberra, immediately.

Effective counter terrorism efforts by regional partners in South-East Asia, including through extensive cooperation with Australia, has led to a much less favourable environment for terrorists in recent years.  However, the terrorist threat in the region persists and there can be no room for complacency. 

The Ambassador for Counter-Terrorism will be responsible for developing and implementing Australia's international counter-terrorism efforts.  He will play a key role in coordinating cooperation, capacity building and operational collaboration between Australian agencies and international counter-terrorism partners.

The Australian Government is committed to countering the ongoing threat of violent extremism and international terrorism.  Mr Paterson will continue Australia's whole-of-government efforts in working to reduce and eliminate terrorism cooperatively with international partners, both bilaterally and multilaterally.

Australia will be looking to build on this progress achieved in partnership in South East Asia and make a contribution to similar efforts in South Asia.  We will also continue to build on our engagement with the United Nations system on counter-terrorism and to continue to work to counter the threat of terrorists acquiring chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear materials.

The government will also continue to work with regional partners to counter extremist ideology and propaganda and to promote tolerance and respect for human dignity.

Mr Paterson will be Australia's fourth Ambassador for Counter-Terrorism.  The position was established in March 2003 and has played a critical role coordinating and promoting Australia's international counter-terrorism.   Previous Ambassadors for Counter-Terrorism were Mr Nick Warner, Mr Les Luck and Mr Mike Smith.  The strong work of Australia's Counter-Terrorism Ambassadors was underlined by the appointment of the previous Ambassador, Mike Smith, as the Executive-Director of the UN Counter-Terrorism Executive Directorate in November 2007. 

Mr Paterson recently returned to Australia after serving as Australia's Ambassador to Thailand.  He has extensive experience in international strategic and security policy, politico‑military affairs, intelligence and regional issues as a senior government official, including as Head of DFATs Anti-Terrorism Task Force immediately after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001

Mr Paterson served as Chief of Staff and Principal Adviser to the Foreign Minister (2000) and as Assistant Secretary for Asia, APEC and Trade policy in the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (1998-99).  Overseas, Mr Paterson has served in Dhaka, Baghdad, Vienna, Washington, Tokyo and Bangkok

Mr Paterson has a Bachelor of Arts degree with honours from the University of Melbourne.  He was awarded the Public Service Medal in 2004 and the Humanitarian Overseas Service Medal in 2005.  He is married with three children.

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