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Media Release

17 September 2009

Diplomatic Appointment: Ambassador to the United States

This afternoon I will recommend to the Governor-General the appointment of the Hon. Kim Beazley AC as Australia's next Ambassador to the United States of America.

He is expected to take up his appointment in Washington in February 2010.

Mr Beazley will replace Mr Dennis Richardson AO, who has been Australia’s Ambassador to the United States since June 2005, and who has been appointed as the next Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

The Australia-United States Alliance, which now spans some 60 years, is indispensable to Australia’s strategic, defence and security arrangements.

As a former Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Defence, Mr Beazley has a deep knowledge of the shared history of our two nations and an understanding of the vital importance of the Australia-United States Alliance.

Australia and the United States are key security and economic partners both in the Asia Pacific region and globally. We have a close and productive relationship across all areas of mutual endeavour.

Complementing this partnership, we enjoy a successful and dynamic bilateral economic and investment relationship, with the United State being the largest single investor in Australia.

Australia and the United States share a deep-seated commitment to freedom and democracy. The ongoing engagement by the United States with the Asia-Pacific remains vitally important to stability and prosperity in the region.

Mr Beazley was elected to the Federal Parliament to represent the seat of Swan in 1980. He was a Member of Parliament from 1980 to 2007, representing the electorates of Swan and Brand.

Mr Beazley was a Minister from 1983 to 1996 in the Hawke and Keating Labor Governments, holding at various times the portfolios of Defence, Finance, Transport and Communications, Employment Education and Training, Aviation and Special Minister of State.

He was Deputy Prime Minister from 1995 to 1996 and Leader of the Australian Labor Party and Leader of the Opposition from 1996 to 2001 and from 2005 to 2006.

He retired from Parliament in 2007 and is currently the Chancellor of the Australian National University and Professor of International Relations at University of Western Australia.


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