Australia has restored the post of High Commissioner to Fiji, three years after the previous commissioner was expelled in 2009.
Foreign Minister, Bob Carr, said the move followed trilateral talks between New Zealand, Fiji & Australia in Sydney on 30th July 2012. At the meeting held with New Zealand Foreign Minister Murray McCully, Bob Carr and his opposite number in Fiji, Ratu Inoke Kubuabola, agreed to exchange High Commissioners.
Ms Margaret Twomey will now represent Australia to Fiji and is expected to take up the new appointment in February 2013.
Ms Twomey is a senior career officer with the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), and is currently Australian Ambassador to the Russian Federation. Ms Twomey has previously served as Australian Ambassador to East Timor; Deputy Head of Mission at the Australian High Commission, Suva, and in previous postings to London and Belgrade.
Ms Twomey holds a Bachelor of Arts degree with Honours (Russian and French) from the University of Melbourne.
Mr Carr said of the changing situation in Fiji:
“I welcome recent moves towards democracy in Fiji, including work towards an electronic electoral roll ahead of the elections scheduled for 2014.
“There is a long way to go, but recent steps forward deserve the recognition agreed upon in our talks in July.
“Australia will continue to encourage Fiji’s return to democracy and the civilianisation of government positions.”
Australia provided AUD $55 million in donor aid to Fiji in the last financial year. 300,000 Australian tourists visit Fiji every year and 50,000 Fijians live & work in Australia.