I am honoured to have been asked by the Australian Government to become Australia's next High Commissioner to the United Kingdom. I look forward to working hard in Britain on behalf of Australians.
The relationship with the United Kingdom is of extraordinary importance to Australia. The UK is the nation with the highest level of investment in Australia and continues to be a major trading partner. But the ties go deeper than this. Over the years the United Kingdom has been our greatest source of migration. We have been the greatest of allies in war and in times of peace. We work closely together through the Commonwealth, the UN, G20 and other international organisations. Our legal, political, defence and cultural ties are immense.
A number of former South Australian Parliamentarians have served Australia with distinction in diplomatic posts, including former South Australian Premier John Olsen in Los Angeles and New York; Robert Hill at the United Nations and Amanda Vanstone in Italy. Two former South Australian Federal Ministers, Neal Blewett and Sir Alec Downer, served as High Commissioners to the UK. I have close connections in British politics and business, as well as with science, educational and arts institutions. I have also, through my work with the UK based The Climate Group, developed a good relationship with the governments of Wales and Scotland.
I look forward to taking up this new role and working to further the interests of Australia in Britain.
The role alsoinvolves becoming Australia's member on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, which honours sacrifice by caring for the graves of 1.7 million war dead in 27,000 cemeteries and memorials in 153 countries. The Australian High Commissioner is also a Trustee of the Imperial War Museum. Both the Commission and the Museum are deeply involved in the centenary commemorations for World War One, including ANZAC, and the 70th anniversaries of World War Two conflicts, includingD Day, VE Day and VP Day.