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Paul Madden

British Ambassador to Japan

Part of UK in Australia

5th February 2015

Farewell to Brisbane

HE Paul Madden and Teresa Gambaro MP
HE Paul Madden and Teresa Gambaro MP

Our final trip to Brisbane, that dynamic city of glittering skyscrapers in the hot and sometimes humid tropical state of Queensland, which always sees itself as just a bit different from the rest of Australia. It was one of the first places I visited when I arrived in January 2011, as Kevin Rudd brought William Hague up to see first hand the damage caused by the terrible floods, and to meet the volunteers who had worked tirelessly to help those affected.

For much of my time here it has been the resource states like Queensland leading Australia’s economic success. British companies have been big players in that. I recall my fascinating visit to BG’s Coal Seam Gas developments in the Surat Basin. Queensland companies have been significant investors in the UK too: employment services companies like Ingeus and Sarino Russo, Transit Systems running hundreds of London’s buses, and QIC investing in our infrastructure.

Our Consulate in Brisbane with its UKTI and Consular teams, is conveniently located on Eagle Street. It’s right opposite the Pig & Whistle pub, always popular with British residents and visitors. I remember dropping in during the British and Irish Lions tour and being impressed to see fans in red shirts and green and gold ones laughing and chatting together over a beer. A tribute to the cameradarie of rugby, but also a reminder that when Britain plays Australia at sport we are fierce rivals, but never enemies. We’ll see that again when the Gold Coast hosts the next Commonwealth Games in 2018.

Queensland is a huge state. In 2013 I travelled up to Cape York in the far north to spend a week in the Aboriginal community of Hope Vale. It was a fascinating experience and I still remember their warm welcome. One of the things I’m most pleased about from my time in Australia is that we’ve used FCO Chevening scholarships to send the first ever Aboriginal Australians to both Oxford and Cambridge Universities.

Queensland is also where Australians go for their holidays, and we’ve had some good vacations up here: visiting the spectacular Great Barrier Reef off Port Douglas and Cairns; and the aptly named Sunshine Coast.

It was good to see Governor Paul de Jersey to say farewell, and have lunch with my friend Teresa Gambaro, the Brisbane MP who chairs the Parliamentary Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade in Canberra. I had a reception with contacts and dinner with, among others, former Premier Peter Beattie. The local state politicians are still recovering from their elections on 31 January, which had thrown up a result no-one had been expecting. That’s Queensland. Always different.

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.