Australian Commonwealth Coat of Arms

Media release

25 November 2008

Diplomatic Appointment: High Commissioner to Bangladesh

Dr Justin Lee is to be Australia’s new High Commissioner to the People's Republic of Bangladesh succeeding Mr Doug Foskett who has been High Commissioner since December 2005. He is expected to take up his appointment in January 2009.

Australia was the fourth country to establish diplomatic relations with Bangladesh after it achieved independence in 1971. Since that time, our two countries have developed a constructive and expanding relationship both bilaterally and in the international arena. We cooperate in a broad range of areas.

High-level visits, such as the visit to Australia in June 2007 of the Caretaker Government’s Foreign Adviser, Dr Iftekhar Chowdhury, and our people-to-people and sporting links play an important role in strengthening our relationship. Close to 5,500 Bangladeshi students are studying in Australian educational institutions.

The bilateral relationship is underpinned by trade links and the Australian development cooperation program. Since 1 July 2003, all products from Bangladesh have entered Australia both duty-free and quota-free. Total bilateral trade was worth over A$235 million in 2007 and Australian companies are active in Bangladesh’s mining, natural gas, jute and education sectors. Australia has been a development partner of Bangladesh since independence in 1971. In 2008-09, we will provide close to $53 million in total aid to Bangladesh, providing support for primary education, maternal and child health and assistance to the ultra poor.

Dr Lee, a career departmental officer, is currently Assistant Secretary, Consular Policy Branch. Prior to this he was Counsellor and Head of the Political Section at the Australian Embassy in Jakarta (2005-08). Dr Lee also served overseas as Third and later Second Secretary at the Australian High Commission in Port Moresby (1999‑2001). Among other positions in Canberra, Dr Lee worked in the Indonesia Section (2002-04) and was the Director of the Media Liaison Section (2004-05).

Dr Lee holds a BA (Jur.) (Hons), a PhD in Development Geography from the University of Adelaide and a Graduate Diploma in Foreign Affairs and Trade from Monash University. He is married and has two children. Dr Lee is a fluent Indonesian speaker.

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Media inquiries: Mr Smith's office 02 6277 7500 - Departmental Media Liaison 02 6261 1555