Changing of the guard at Brazil embassy

By Stephen Easton

January 15, 2016

Experienced diplomat John Richardson is to be Australia’s new ambassador to Brazil, replacing Patrick Lawless in February.

Richardson has experience representing Australia in South America as ambassador to Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay from 2008 to 2011. He continued to work for stronger bilateral links in that part of the world as an assistant secretary with the Canada and Latin America branch of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade during 2012.

After two years as director of DFAT’s Victorian office, he will take up his post in the 71st year of formal relations with Brazil, and as the diplomatic mission prepares to host a major cultural festival called “Australia now” in April and May. As tourists stream into Brazil ahead of this year’s Paralympic Games, Australia-themed events are scheduled all over the country. According to Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop:

John Richardson
John Richardson

“The festival will promote Australia as culturally sophisticated, innovative and diverse, highlighting our country’s attractiveness to business, investors and tourists.”

The incoming ambassador to Brazil was deputy head of mission in Germany from 1998 to 2001 before taking on a senior role with the diplomatic security branch until 2005.

Richardson has also contributed strongly to links with Asian nations, including as an AS with the department’s Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC) taskforce in 2006 and 2007, when the regional forum convened in Sydney. He served as deputy head of mission in Thailand followed by a stint in the north-east Asia branch in the 1990s.

The minister thanked the outgoing ambassador for his two years’ service but did not mention where his career might take him next.

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