Owen Harries

  • Joint media release
  • The Hon. Scott Morrison MP, Prime Minister
  • Senator The Hon. Marise Payne, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Minister for Women
30 June 2020

It is with great sadness that we learned of the passing of one of the architects of Australia's modern foreign policy, Owen Harries.

While born and raised in Wales, Owen made Australia his home. He lectured in politics and government before becoming a trusted advisor to the Fraser Government of the 1970s and 1980s.

He served in senior roles in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, including as Australian Ambassador to UNESCO, as well as in senior advisory roles to Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser and Foreign Minister Andrew Peacock.

In this time he is credited with being the driving force behind Australia's post-Vietnam foreign policy, including advocating for greater Australian engagement with developing countries through a combination of economic growth, social development and political stability.

He became an influential figure in US politics, founding and editing The National Interest, a key foreign policy magazine, for two decades in Washington D.C..

Australia was never far from Owen's heart however – and with his wife Dorothy, he retired back to Sydney in the early 2000s.

A shrewd, practical and highly intelligent man, Owen has left an indelible mark on Australia's place in the world.

He passed away in Sydney last week, aged 90. Vale Owen Harries.

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