PM Transcripts - Prime Ministers of Australia


Prime Minister - Hawke, Robert

Media Release - 08 November 1991

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The present Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and
Trade, Mr Richard Woolcott, AO, is nearing the end of a long and
distinguished career in that Department, and has advised the
Government of his plan to retire on and from 15 February 1992.
Mr Woolcott joiLned the then Department of External Affairs as a
trainee in 1950, and after posting to a range of places became
our Ambassador in Jakarta ( 1975-78), Ambassador in Manila
( 1978-82) and Ambassador and Permanent Representative at the
United Nations in New York ( 1982-88) before taking up his
appointment as Secretary in 1988.
One of the many notable achievements was his period as Austral. ian
representative on the Security Council in 1985-86 and as
President of the Security Council in November 1986.
More recently, he was my Special Envoy in the initiative to
promote a regional economic forum for Asia and the Pacific
( APEC).
But he will be remembered most for his dedicated and professional
service for so many years and for so many governments.
The Government will be recommending to the Governor-General the
appointment in his place, from 15 February 1992, of Dr Peter
Wilenski, AO.
Dr Wilenski has held a number of posts at Secretary level for
much of the past two decades including a period as Chairman of
the then Public; Service Board and, before taking up his present
position as our Ambassador and Permanent Representative at the!
United Nations, as Secretary of the Department of Transport anid
Communications.. Dr Wilenski's early career in the public sector was spent in the
then Department: of Foreign Affairs. In a number of the positions
he has held since, he has been closely involved in international
as well as natiLonal affairs.
He has also made, over the years, a notable contribution to
management improvement in the public sector.
Since his appoiLntment there nearly three years ago, Dr Wilenski
has been an out~ standing representative for Australia at the
United Nations and he is eminently well qualified to take over
from Mr Woolcoltt the secretaryship of the Department of Foreign
Affairs and Trade.