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Diplomatic appointment: Ambassador to the United States of America.

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The Government will recommend to the Governor-General that Mr Dennis Richardson AO be nominated as Australia's next Ambassador to the United States of America.

Mr Richardson is Director-General of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO). He has made a major contribution to Australia’s security in this role, especially since 11 September 2001, and will be a highly effective Ambassador to the United States.

Prior to taking up his current position, Mr Richardson was Deputy Secretary, Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs (1993-96), First Assistant Secretary, Social Policy Division, Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet (1992-93), Head of the Review of the Intelligence Community (1992), Principal Adviser to the Prime Minister (1990-1991), First Assistant Secretary, International Division, Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet (1988-90), Assistant Secretary, Foreign Affairs Branch, Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet (1987-88), and Assistant Secretary, Refugee and Humanitarian Branch, Department of Immigration and Ethnic Affairs (1986-87). Earlier in his career, Mr Richardson held various positions in the Department of Foreign Affairs including in Nairobi, Port Moresby and Jakarta.

The relationship between Australia and the United States is deep and enduring. It is a relationship built on our shared values of freedom and democracy and closely aligned strategic interests.

Australia’s long standing ANZUS alliance with the United States is the cornerstone of our relationship. Our security partnership has contributed greatly to Australia’s national security for over 50 years including by improving the regional and global security environment. Australia and the United States are working together to build a free and democratic Iraq, have cooperated closely in fighting the scourge of terrorism and coordinated closely our response with other regional partners to the tsunami disaster in South East Asia.

Australia and the United States have a vibrant and growing economic and trade relationship. Two way investment continues to strengthen. The United States is Australia’s second largest trading partner and largest single source of direct investment. The Australia-US Free Trade Agreement which came into force on 1 January 2005 has created new opportunities for significant growth in our economies.

This is a dynamic relationship which will continue to diversify and develop. Our shared strategic and economic interests are all the stronger because of the political and social values and aspirations our societies share.

Mr Richardson was born in Kempsey, NSW in 1947 and he holds a Bachelor of Arts with Honours from Sydney University. He was made an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) in 2003. He is married with a son and a daughter.

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