Diplomatic appointment - Ambassador to The Holy See

Joint Media release

29 April 2012

Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Foreign Minister Bob Carr today announced that John McCarthy QC will be Australia's next Ambassador to the Holy See.

Mr McCarthy is expected to take up his appointment in September 2012.

He will replace the Hon Tim Fischer AC, who served as Australia's first resident Ambassador to the Holy See from February 2009 until January 2012.

Australia and the Holy See established diplomatic relations in 1973.

The bilateral relationship has benefitted from the appointment of a resident Ambassador.

This has allowed closer dialogue, advocacy and cooperation with the Vatican on a broad range of issues of importance to Australia.

These include food security, inter-faith dialogue, religious freedom, international humanitarian relief, and the promotion of peaceful and sustainable development.

An event of significance for the relationship in recent times was the canonisation of Mary MacKillop as St Mary of the Cross on 17th October 2010.

Mr McCarthy is a senior lawyer who has been actively involved in public and church affairs for many years as well as being a member of the Australian Bar.

He has had extensive engagement in university education and governance, sports administration, arts administration, legal aid and professional committees and international charitable and disaster relief activities.

Mr McCarthy was Senior Counsel for the Dunghutti people, appearing as Senior Counsel in their successful native title case in the Federal Court in 1997.

In 2006, Mr McCarthy was appointed Knight Commander of the Order of St Gregory the Great (KCSG) by the Holy See for services to the Catholic Church in Australia and to the wider Australian community.

In 2012, Mr McCarthy was appointed an Honorary Fellow of the University of Sydney.

Mr McCarthy was born in 1947 in Parkes, NSW and educated at the University of Sydney (Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Laws) and University of Virginia (Master of Laws). He is married with six children.

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