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Paul Madden

British Ambassador to Japan

Part of UK in Australia

19th September 2012

A busy week in Parliament

Canberra is “a game of two halves” as the football (soccer) commentators put it. For about 20 weeks a year, the parliamentarians descend on it from all across this vast continent, in a whirl of activity. The rest of time it is somewhat quieter. With Parliament sitting last week, I was up there twice speaking to groups of MPs.

Parliament House Canberra

The Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade, invited the Swedish Ambassador and me to give them an informal briefing on Julian Assange. I described the background to the case, on which Foreign Secretary William Hague had recently made a written statement to Parliament.

I explained that Sweden had issued a European Arrest Warrant for Mr Assange on serious charges. As was his right, he had challenged this right up to the highest court in the land and failed. In our discussions with the Ecuadorian government we were seeking a diplomatic solution, which would enable us to carry out our legal obligation to pass Mr Assange to the Swedish authorities.

I was also invited by shadow foreign minister Julie Bishop to give a talk to a number of her party colleagues. This was a good opportunity as, although we have good relations with many Opposition members, we obviously don’t have the volume of day to day business contacts with them that we have with the government of the day. (Earlier that day, for example, I had been calling on the Climate Change minister to discuss upcoming international meetings).

I spoke about the UK, a range of international policy issues, and the UK/Australia relationship. There were a large number of questions, reflecting the parliamentarians’ lively interest in these issues. As with the Labor party, many Liberals have good links with their British opposite numbers.

The warmth of the event was characterised by a spontaneous round of applause when I mentioned Andy Murray’s stunning grand slam victory earlier in the day. None clapped louder than former international tennis star John Alexander, now a Liberal MP.

One person who wasn’t in Parliament last week was Prime Minister Julia Gillard. She was spending a few days with her family following the very sad loss of her father, who had emigrated from Wales with the family in the 1960s, like so many other “ten pound poms”. I passed on a personal letter of condolence from PM David Cameron.

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.