Ambassador to Laos

Media release

5 November 2013

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop today announced the appointment of Mr John Williams as Australia's next Ambassador to Laos.

He is expected to take up his appointment in January 2014 replacing Ms Lynda Worthaisong.

Mr Williams is a career officer with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. He has served twice at the Australian Embassy in Jakarta as Counsellor (Public Affairs) and as First Secretary/Counsellor (Political) with earlier postings in Bangkok and Honiara.

Until recently, Mr Williams was Director of the Department's Media Liaison Section. He has previously worked with the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) Regional Office for East Asia and the Pacific in Bangkok, and as Housing Adviser for the Australian Government's post-tsunami reconstruction program in Aceh.

Mr Williams holds a Graduate Diploma in Foreign Affairs and Trade from Monash University, a Bachelor of Law and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Queensland. Mr Williams will be accompanied to Vientiane by his wife and two daughters. He speaks Lao, Thai and Indonesian.

Australia and Laos marked the 60th anniversary of diplomatic ties in 2012, and have a longstanding and cooperative bilateral relationship.

Australia has a range of trade and investment ties with Laos. Australian companies are major investors in the Lao resources sector, and are providing high quality products and services in a range of fields including banking, legal, education and engineering.

Two-way trade between Australia and Laos was valued at $80 million in 2012. Both countries are parties to the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement and are participating in negotiations for a Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership.

Australia is one of the largest bilateral aid donors to Laos. Development assistance is focused on supporting basic education, trade and investment facilitation and rural development, as well as unexploded ordnance clearance and victim assistance.

Australia also works with Laos on a range of transnational issues including countering drug trafficking, anti-money laundering, people smuggling and trafficking in persons.

Media enquiries

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