13 August 2009
Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade
I pay tribute to Michael L'Estrange AO for his contribution and service as Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) over the past four and a half years.
I thank him particularly for his advice and counsel to the Government since December 2007 when the Government came to office.
I have very much enjoyed my personal and professional working relationship with Mr L’Estrange.
Mr L’Estrange has served successive Governments with exemplary dedication, professionalism and intellectual rigour, as Secretary to Cabinet from 1996 to 2000, High Commissioner to the United Kingdom from 2000 to 2005, and then as Secretary of DFAT from January 2005.
As Secretary, Mr L’Estrange has made a substantial contribution to foreign and public policy to promote and advance Australia’s national interests.
Under his leadership, the Department has expanded Australia’s engagement within the Asia-Pacific region, developed a new Australia-EU Partnership Framework and commenced the deepening of relations with India, Africa and Latin America, while maintaining close relationships with successive United States Administrations.
Mr L’Estrange has been instrumental in the development of policy responses to the challenges of counter-terrorism, people smuggling and climate change.
Mr L’Estrange has also led the Department's response to consular crises, including the evacuation of Australians from Lebanon and the Garuda airline crash in Indonesia, which also cost the lives of DFAT and other Australian officials.
He has been a tireless champion for DFAT staff, particularly when serving overseas, and the role they play in helping to make Australia a safer and more prosperous country.
The Government has also today announced the appointment of Mr Dennis Richardson AO, Australia’s Ambassador to the United States, as the incoming Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
I congratulate Mr Richardson on his appointment and look forward to working with him. The Government will announce the appointment of a new Ambassador to the United States in due course.
- Mr Smith's office 02 6277 7500
- Departmental Media Liaison 02 6261 1555