Today I announce the Government's intention to nominate Senator David Bushby as Australia's next Consul-General in Chicago.
Chicago is a major centre of international business and global finance, and the hub of the Midwest region of the United States. The Midwest covers 11 states with a population totalling 68 million and an economy worth US$3.4 trillion. It is also home to 163 Fortune 500 companies, a number of which are investors in Australia.
Australia's economic links with the Midwest are integral to Australia's broader trade and investment partnership with the United States – our largest with any one country. Since the Australia-US Free Trade Agreement came into force in 2005, bilateral trade has grown from $42 billion to $70.2 billion in 2017-18, and two-way investment has more than doubled to $1.6 trillion in 2017.
The Consulate-General in Chicago also engages leaders in government, education, culture and the media; and provides consular and passport services to Australians who live in and visit Chicago and the Midwest.
Senator Bushby has served as a Senator for Tasmania since 30 August 2007. He has been the Chief Government Whip in the Senate since 1 July 2014. In addition to being a long-standing member of the Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security, he has chaired the Senate Economics Legislation and References Committees, the Senate Environment and Communications Legislation Committee and the Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity Committee.
Prior to entering Parliament, Senator Bushby was a partner of a legal practice, a partner in a public relations firm, a political adviser and practiced as a commercial and international trade lawyer. He holds a Bachelor of Economics and a Bachelor of Laws from the University of Tasmania and a Graduate Diploma in Business (Shipping) from the Australian Maritime College.
I thank Consul-General Michael Wood for his contributions to advancing Australia's interests in Chicago and the surrounding region since 2015.