Australian Commonwealth Coat of Arms

Media release

16 June 2008

Diplomatic Appointment - Ambassador to Thailand

Mr Paul Grigson is to be Australia’s new Ambassador to Thailand.

Mr Grigson will replace William (Bill) Paterson PSM who has been Ambassador since January 2005 and is expected to take up his appointment in July 2008.

Australia’s relationship with Thailand has a long and close history. Formal diplomatic relations were established in 1952 and are today underpinned by a treaty-level Agreement on Bilateral Cooperation. We are major partners in trade and investment, law enforcement, defence, education and tourism. In recent years we have cooperated closely in counter-terrorism and in addressing people smuggling.

Thailand is one of four countries with which Australia has a free trade agreement. The Australia-Thailand Free Trade Agreement (TAFTA) came into force in January 2005 and has helped boost bilateral trade. Thailand is Australia’s eight largest trading partner with two way merchandise trade reaching $12.3 billion in 2007.

Australia looks forward to strengthening cooperation with Thailand on regional issues when Thailand assumes the ASEAN chairmanship in July 2008. Thailand is Australia’s current ASEAN dialogue partner.

People-to-people exchanges between our two countries are significant and growing. Some 600,000 Australians visited Thailand last year and approximately 17,000 Thai students are now studying in Australia, making Australia the preferred destination for Thai students studying abroad.

Australia’s Embassy in Bangkok is one of our largest overseas missions, providing consular services to the estimated 50,000 Australians present in Thailand at any one time.

Mr Grigson is a senior career officer with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. He was most recently the Chief of Staff to the Minister for Foreign Affairs. Other positions in the Department include First Assistant Secretary, South East Asia Division (2004‑07), Assistant Secretary, Maritime South-East Asia Branch (2000-03) and Director, Parliamentary Liaison and Freedom of Information Section (1992-93). Mr Grigson was also a Senior Adviser in International Division in the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (1997-2000).

Overseas, Mr Grigson has served as Ambassador in Rangoon (2003-04), Chief Negotiator, Peace Monitoring Group in Bougainville (2000) and Deputy Head of Mission in Phnom Penh (1993-95).

Educated at the University of Queensland, the Australian National University and the Securities Institute of Australia, Mr Grigson holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and Journalism, a Bachelor of Letters and a Graduate Diploma in Applied Finance. Mr Grigson is married with two children

Media inquiries