Diplomatic Appointment – High Commissioner to Tonga

Media release

Canberra

9 November 2010

The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Kevin Rudd has today announced that Mr Thomas Roth is Australia's new High Commissioner to Tonga.

Mr Roth replaces Mr Bruce Hunt who has been High Commissioner since November 2006. He is expected to take up his appointment in January 2011.

Australia and Tonga have long enjoyed a warm relationship marked by close regional and bilateral ties and deep community links. 2010 marks 40 years of diplomatic relations.

Our cooperation covers regional trade and economic agreement negotiations (PACER Plus), working together in the Pacific Islands Forum, and contributing to the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands.

Tonga is scheduled to hold historic elections on 25 November 2010 under new electoral and constitutional arrangements that will bring greater democracy. Australia is supporting Tonga during this important transition through its development assistance program.

Australia's total development assistance to Tonga has risen from $13.3 million in 2006-07 to $27.8 million for 2010-11. A Partnership for Development agreement was signed in August 2009 that prioritises public sector reform, improved health outcomes, improved vocational and technical skills, and infrastructure development.

Australia also has active Defence Cooperation and Police Development programs in Tonga.

Mr Roth is a career officer with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and is currently Director, United States Trade Section, Americas and Africa Division - a position he has held since February 2009. Mr Roth has extensive experience within the Department and has previously served overseas in Vienna, Washington and Brasilia.

Mr Roth holds a Bachelor of Arts degree (Honours in Political Science) from the University of Queensland. Mr Roth is married with three children.

Media enquiries

  • Minister's office: (02) 6277 7500
  • DFAT Media Liaison: (02) 6261 1555