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Paul Madden

British Ambassador to Japan

Part of UK in Australia

2nd October 2012

A Grand Final to Remember

In Australia, sport doesn’t get any bigger than the AFL (Aussie rules) Grand Final. In British terms it’s like the Premiership and FA Cup rolled into one.  99,683 of us were gathered in the cauldron of the Melbourne Cricket Ground -“the G” – last Saturday. I had been invited by my friend Paul Sheahan, former test cricketer and current President of the MCG.

HE Paul Madden with Paul Sheahan MCG President at the AFL Grand Final

With my own team not in the final, I decided to root for the Hawthorn Hawks, over the Sydney Swans. I felt that it would not be diplomatic for a Brit to be cheering for Sydney in Melbourne. But judging from the red and white colours all around the ground, if anything Swans fans were in the majority. Partly travelling fans, partly long term loyalty from when the Swans played in South Melbourne until 1982, and partly supporters of other Victoria teams who couldn’t bring themselves to support a local rival.

It was a fantastic flowing game, epitomising everything that makes AFL such a wonderful spectator sport. The game swung between the two teams: Hawks led at the end of the first quarter, and Swans at the second quarter, remaining just ahead at the end of the third. It literally went down to the wire. With a minute to go, the Swans were ahead by four points, less than a goal. The game could have gone either way. Finally, with 34 seconds to go Malceski snapped a goal that gave Swans victory by 91 to 81. You’ve got to love a game that produces such high scores and excitement to wow the fans.

The following day, in a nice symmetry, a Melbourne team, the Storm, beat the Western Bulldogs from the Sydney suburbs in the other Grand Final, the National Rugby League. As an effete southerner, I’ve always been more interested in Union than League. But Dennis Richardson, Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, has finally succeeded in persuading me of the merits of League, as played by his beloved Canberra Raiders. I had been to see the Raiders knocked out in one of the qualifying semi-finals a couple of weekends ago.

With all this sport, I’m going to have lots to talk about when the Australian sports minister Kate Lundy comes to lunch this week to tell me all about her experiences at the Olympics and Paralympics in London.

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.