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Advancing The National Interest – Foreign Affairs White Paper

This is the Foreign Affairs White Paper, released by the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Alexander Downer.

The White Paper is entitled, Advancing the National Interest. It updates the 1997 paper, In the National Interest. [Read more…]


Statements On Iraq: Downer And Crean Speak In House Debate

The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Alexander Downer, has delivered a parliamentary statement on Iraq.

The Opposition Leader, Simon Crean, responded to Downer’s speech, as divisions within the ALP intensified over the issue.

Following the statements by Downer and Crean, a further 36 members of the House spoke in the debate.

  • Listen to Downer (35m – transcript below)
  • Listen to Crean (34m – transcript below)

Hansard transcript of Statement on Iraq by Foreign Minister Alexander Downer. [Read more…]


Greater Transparency For Treaty-Making Process

The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Alexander Downer, has announced changes to the treaty-making process, aimed to provide greater transparency and public accessibility.

The timeframe for parliamentary consultation with interest groups will be extended, and the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties will have a revised procedure for public consultations.

Downer also announced that an Australian Treaties Database with a powerful search engine capability will be formed. [Read more…]


Downer Responds To Bush’s Statement On The Middle East

Alexander Downer has commented on President Bush’s statement on the Middle East.

In response to a question in the House of Representatives from Liberal backbencher Petro Georgiou, Downer said: “The government welcomes the statement made by President Bush.”

  • Listen to Downer (4m)

Hansard transcript of question to Alexander Downer about the Middle East.

Mr GEORGIOU (2:03 PM) —My question is addressed to the Minister for Foreign Affairs. Following President Bush’s statement overnight on the Middle East, would the minister update the House on Australia’s approach to the conflict there? [Read more…]


Howard Government Decides To Ratify International Criminal Court

The Prime Minister, John Howard, has officially announced the decision of the Federal Cabinet to support the establishment of the International Criminal Court.

The decision was made by the Cabinet at a meeting last night and approved at a meeting of the joint coalition parties this morning.

The decision represents a victory for the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Alexander Downer, and other moderates in the Liberal Party. Downer has promoted the court since 1996. [Read more…]


Paul Foley: Ambassador To East Timor

Paul Foley, a career diplomat with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, has been appointed Australia’s first Ambassador to East Timor.

The appointment was announced today by the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Alexander Downer.

Text of media release by the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Alexander Downer.

FoleyI have today announced the appointment of Paul Foley as Australian Ambassador to East Timor.

East Timor’s independence ceremonies on 20 May 2002 were a moving celebration of East Timor’s entry into the community of nations. I was delighted to be present with the Prime Minister and a broad delegation of Australians to witness the birth of a nation. [Read more…]


Timor Sea Treaty

The Timor Sea Treaty between Australia and East Timor was signed on May 20, 2002.

In announcing the conclusion of negotiations on May 17, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Alexander Downer, had this to say:

Statement from the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Alexander Downer.

DownerI am delighted to announce that yesterday we successfully concluded the negotiations over the Timor Sea Treaty. This Treaty and related documents will open the way for major oil and gas developments in the Timor Sea between Australia and a newly independent East Timor.

Since reaching agreement in July 2001 on a draft Timor Sea Arrangement, negotiations have been under way to turn this into a Treaty and to provide a sound legal framework that will enable commercial development of the resources. The Treaty, an Exchange of Notes on provisional arrangements until entry into force of the Treaty and a Memorandum of Understanding on an International Unitisation Agreement for the Greater Sunrise field will be signed in Dili on 20 May. [Read more…]


Foreign Aid Budget: 2002-03

This is Australia’s foreign aid budget for the financial year 2002-03. [Read more…]


Howard And Costello Leadership Dance Continues

As speculation about the Liberal Party leadership swirled this week, following a series of articles in rival publications touting the views of the Howard and Costello camps, the two men danced warily around the media. [Read more…]


Downer On Advancing The National Interest: Australia’s Foreign Policy Challenge

This is the text of a speech delivered by the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Alexander Downer.

The speech is part of the process established by the government leading to the publication of a new White Paper on Australia’s foreign and trade policy.

An earlier White Paper, In The National Interest, was published in 1997. [Read more…]