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Paul Madden

British Ambassador to Japan

Part of UK in Australia

6th September 2011

War Memorials, Welsh Prime Ministers, Wacky Comedians

I was involved in a number of events  last week which reminded me of the multi-faceted relationship between Britain and Australia.

On a sunny morning in Canberra, I laid a wreath at a memorial service to honour Australians who had served in the Malayan Emergency (1948-60) and Indonesian Confrontation (1962-66). These successful campaigns are nowadays not widely known in either of our countries, other than among those who were there (including one of my uncles on his national service). But as I have served in South East Asia for seven years in total, I have had the opportunity to meet a number of British veterans from those years passing through Singapore. I know how highly they regard the partnership with their Australian comrades. And I was always impressed to see the satisfaction they took in knowing that their sacrifices had helped to enable the peace and prosperity the region enjoy today.

Later in the week, I attended a book launch at the old Parliament building in Canberra, for a book which my friend Prof Carl Bridge of King’s College London, has written about former Australian Prime Minister Billy Hughes, who was PM from 1915-23. Wales has produced two Australian leaders, Hughes and the present Prime Minister, welsh-born Julia Gillard. Carl described Hughes’ colourful political career, including the prominent role he played in representing Australia’s interests at the Versailles Peace Conference after WWI. It looks like a good read.

Then on Saturday I went to see the much-loved British comedian John Cleese performing in a comedy festival at the Sydney Opera House. Surprisingly it was the first time he had ever appeared live in Australia, despite the fact that he has a huge following from generations of Australians who have enjoyed Monty Python, Fawlty Towers and his other work. I always find that Australians are very much on the same wave-length as Brits in their sense of humour. Much more so than with some other English-speaking countries. So John Cleese was able to sell out the theatre for 8 performance in 4 days. I spotted a number of prominent Australians among the audience. Personally I was  a little disappointed that he didn’t perform the parrot sketch. I think many of us know it by heart and would have been ready to join in.

About Paul Madden

Paul Madden has been the British Ambassador to Japan from January 2017. He was Additional Director for Asia Pacific at the FCO in 2015.He was British High Commissioner to Australia…

Paul Madden has been the British Ambassador to Japan from January 2017.

He was Additional Director for Asia Pacific at the FCO in 2015.He was British High Commissioner to Australia until February 2015. Prior to this he was British High Commissioner in Singapore from 2007-2011.

A career diplomat, he was previously Managing Director at UK Trade and Investment (2004-2006), responsible for co-ordinating and
implementing international trade development strategies to support
companies across a wide range of business sectors.

As Assistant Director of Information at the Foreign and Commonwealth
Office (2003-2004) he was responsible for public diplomacy policy,
including managing the FCO funding of the BBC World Service, the British
Council and the Chevening Scholarships programme. He led the team
responsible for the award-winning UK pavilion at the Aichi Expo in Japan

He was Deputy High Commissioner in Singapore from 2000-2003 and has
also served in Washington (1996-2000) and Tokyo (1988-92). Between
1992-96 he worked on EU enlargement and Environmental issues at the FCO
in London.

Before joining FCO he worked at the Department of Trade and Industry
(1980-87) on a range of industrial sectors and trade policy, including
two years as a minister’s Private Secretary.

He has an MA in Economic Geography from Cambridge University, an MBA
from Durham University, studied Japanese at London University’s School
of Oriental and African Studies, and is a Fellow of the Royal
Geographical Society. His first book, Raffles: Lessons in Business
Leadership, was published in 2003.

Married to Sarah, with three children, he was born in 1959, in Devon.