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Female career diplomats [8 August 1997]

The announcement today of the appointment of Ms Penny Wensley as Australia's new Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York will bring the number of female Heads of Mission or Heads of Post at Australian overseas missions to nine.

Since coming to office in March 1996, this Government has appointed six female Heads of Mission or Heads of Post. These appointments are consistent with the Government's commitment to reflect the diversity of contemporary Australia in its representation overseas.

Australia currently has seven female Heads of Mission or Post. They are located at our Embassies in Amman, Hanoi, Santiago, Stockholm and Rangoon and at our Consulates General in Ho Chi Minh City and Guangzhou. In June 1 also announced the appointment of Ms Karina Campbell as Head of Mission to Laos. Once Ms Wensley and Ms Campbell take up their posts, this will bring to nine the number of women heading our missions overseas.

Ms Wensley is the first female career officer in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to head Australia's United Nations mission in New York.

The contribution women have made to Australia's foreign service has long been recognised both at home and overseas. This Government remains committed to increasing the role women have to play in the formation of foreign and trade policies. Today's announcement of Mr Wensley's appointment is a further step in that direction.

For further information contact:

Innes Willox, 06 277 7500; 0411 414 695