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Foreign Affairs Council holds first meeting

I am pleased to announce that the first meeting of the Foreign Affairs Council, the new consultative body established in December last year, will take place on 26 February at my Departmental headquarters in Canberra.

The Council will provide a mechanism through which the Government can draw upon the expertise and views of a range of distinguished Australians working in business, in academia and the media in developing foreign policy.

On the eve of the first meeting, I am also delighted to announce the Council's membership - a group of highly qualified individuals with expertise in diverse disciplines (list attached). Their participation in the Council's work will ensure that the Government has access to the best, most relevant range of perspectives outside the bureaucracy.

I see the Council providing a forum for frank discussion of the implications and challenges for Australia arising from events and issues of fundamental importance to our future, notably developments in our own region. In particular I will be encouraging members to submit new ideas on future directions and strategies. The Council will thereby play a key role in the Government's efforts to stimulate debate and contest ideas in the foreign policy arena.

I will chair the Council which will meet approximately three times a year. The first meeting will discuss developments in East Asia.

Its work will supplement that of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and other agencies. The Foreign Affairs Council will also parallel the work of the Trade Policy Advisory Council which provides advice to the Minister for Trade.

Further information:

Innes Willox, 06 277 7500; 0411 414 695

ATTACHMENT

Foreign Affairs Council

Members

Mr Geoff Allen, Chairman, The Allen Consulting Group

Professor Di Bretherton, Associate Professor and Director, International Conflict Resolution Centre, University of Melbourne

Professor Hilary Charlesworth, Director, Centre for International and Public Law, ANU

Professor James Cotton, Head, School of Politics, UNSW College, Australian Defence Force Academy

Professor Paul Dibb AM, Head, Strategic and Defence Studies Centre, ANU

Mr Rod Eddington, Executive Chairman, ANSETT Australia

Dr Christopher Findlay, Associate Professor of Economics, School of Economics, University of Adelaide

Professor Stephen FitzGerald AO, Chairman, Asia-Australia Institute, University of NSW

Professor Ross Garnaut AO, Professor of Economics, Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies, ANU

Professor David Goodman, Director, Institute of International Studies, University of Technology, Sydney

Professor Stuart Harris AO, Convenor, The Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies, Northeast Asia Program, ANU