Appointment of Australian Ambassadors, High Commissioners and Consuls-General

  • Media release

Today I announce new appointments that strengthen Australia’s diplomatic capability and match people with the right qualifications and expertise to senior postings.

The Albanese Government is reversing the previous government’s approach and rebalancing appointments towards qualified senior officials, consistent with position requirements and community expectations.

In certain circumstances there is a clear advantage for Australia to be represented by people who have had distinguished careers beyond the public service, such as businesspeople and former parliamentarians.

The eminence of Australia’s relationship with the United Kingdom has long been reflected in the appointment of a former senior Cabinet minister.

In keeping with this tradition, the Government intends to appoint the Hon Stephen Smith as Australia's next High Commissioner to the United Kingdom.

Mr Smith was a member of the Australian Parliament for 20 years, and served as the Minister for Defence, and prior to that, as Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Trade.

It is intended that he will commence his posting at the completion of the Defence Strategic Review in early 2023. Until then, Lynette Wood will continue as Acting High Commissioner.

A replacement for the Hon Arthur Sinodinos AO will be announced ahead of the completion of his posting as Ambassador to the United States of America in February 2023.

A DFAT recruitment process will be carried out to appoint experienced public servants as heads of mission in Singapore, New Delhi, Tokyo and at the United Nations in New York.

The Hon Will Hodgman will conclude as High Commissioner to Singapore in February 2023.

The Hon Barry O’Farrell AO will conclude as High Commissioner to India in February 2023.

The Hon Mitch Fifield will conclude as Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations in June 2023.

Today I also announce the appointment of six career diplomats to lead Australian overseas posts:

Our foreign service is the driver of Australia’s engagement with the world and responsible for ensuring our national interests today and into the future.

I thank outgoing ambassadors, high commissioners and consuls-general for their contributions to advancing Australia's interests in these countries during their respective tenures.

Media enquiries

  • Minister's office: (02) 6277 7500
  • DFAT Media Liaison: (02) 6261 1555