Australia starts search for a new High Commissioner to India

Barry O’Farrell AO will conclude as High Commissioner to India in February 2023.

Australia’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Senator the Hon Penny Wong has announced new appointments that strengthen Australia’s diplomatic capability and match people with the right qualifications and expertise to senior postings.

Senator Wong announced that Stephen Smith will become Australia’s next High Commissioner to the United Kingdom. Mr Smith was a member of the Australian Parliament for 20 years, and served as the Minister for Defence, and prior to that, as Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Trade.

Australia’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Senator the Hon Penny Wong (Image source: Twitter)

In a statement, Senator Wong observed:

“The Albanese Government is reversing the previous government’s approach and rebalancing appointments towards qualified senior officials, consistent with position requirements and community expectations.

In certain circumstances there is a clear advantage for Australia to be represented by people who have had distinguished careers beyond the public service, such as businesspeople and former parliamentarians.”

- Advertisement -

Further, Senator Wong announced the appointment of the following six career diplomats to lead Australian overseas posts:

Senator Wong also added that she will soon announce the replacement for the Hon Arthur Sinodinos AO who is Australia’s Ambassador to the United States of America until February 2023.

She added that the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) would undergo an extensive recruitment process in key international posts. This includes selection of experienced public servants as heads of mission in Singapore, New Delhi, Tokyo, and at the United Nations in New York.

The Hon Barry O’Farrell AO will conclude as High Commissioner to India in February 2023. he was appointed on 18 February 2020 by then Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs Senator the Hon Marise Payne. He replaced the outgoing High Commissioner Ms Harinder Sidhu for her significant contribution to advancing Australia’s interests in India since 2016.

Mr O’Farrell served in the Parliament of New South Wales from 1995 to 2015, including as the State’s 43rd Premier between 2011 and 2014. As Premier, Mr O’Farrell initiated and led annual trade missions to India to promote economic, cultural and social links between New South Wales and the states of India. He has also served as NSW’s Special Envoy for India and has made a significant contribution as the Deputy Chair of the Australia India Council Board.

Image source: Lisa Singh with the Hon Barry O’Farrell – AII.

Senator Wong said the new appointments would “strengthen Australia’s diplomatic capability” and match the important postings with people who possess suitable “qualifications and expertise”.

- Advertisement -

Australia recognises India as one of its closest and most significant partners in the Indo-Pacific and recognises the growing Indian Diaspora s a key driver in Australia-India education, cultural and tourism links.