Diplomatic Appointment - High Commissioner to Canada

Media release: Acting Minister for Foreign Affairs, The Hon Martin Ferguson AM MP


29 December 2011

Acting Foreign Minister Martin Ferguson AM, MP today announced that Ms Louise Hand PSM will be Australia's next High Commissioner to Canada.

Ms Hand is expected to take up her appointment in January 2012, and will replace Mr Justin Brown who has been High Commissioner since November 2008.

Australia and Canada share many values underpinned by common legal traditions and Commonwealth heritage.

The two countries work closely together in a range of international forums, most notably in the United Nations on issues such as non-proliferation and disarmament, sustainable development, climate change and human rights. Australia has a productive relationship with Canada in the G20 in working to advance international action to underpin strong, sustainable and balanced growth.

Australian and Canadian forces have fought side by side in a number of conflicts, most recently in Afghanistan, and the two countries maintain strong military linkages characterised by personnel exchanges and joint training exercises.

Bilateral trade and investment links are significant and there has been strong growth in two-way investment flows in recent years. Peak industry bodies in both countries recently launched a study to examine ways to further develop economic links.

People-to-people links are an important feature of the relationship. More than 200 agreements are in place between Australian and Canadian universities and Canada is Australia's fifth largest research partner. More than 15,000 Australians and Canadians travel every year under a working holiday agreement. Australian State and Canadian Provincial Governments maintain regular contacts, and Queensland and British Columbia have concluded a formal program of cooperation.

Ms Hand is a senior career officer with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and is currently Australia's Ambassador for Climate Change, a position she has held since February 2009. Ms Hand has previously served as Minister in Jakarta and as Ambassador to Cambodia, with earlier postings to Geneva and Vienna.

Ms Hand holds a Bachelor of Arts and Masters Qualifying degree from the University of Queensland and a Master of Business Administration from Deakin University. She speaks French. She was awarded a Public Service Medal in 2009 for her work in Indonesia. She is married with two children.

Media enquiries

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