02 July 2010

Australian Embassy farewells career diplomat

Australia’s ambassador to Indonesia will be retiring the position and ending a 41-year diplomatic career next week.

Australia Visa

A long-serving ambassador will farewell the Australian Embassy in Indonesia next week.

Bill Farmer will leave Jakarta on 5 July after five years as the head of Australia's largest Australian Embassy.

Mr Farmer’s first posting in 1969 was to Egypt, accompanied by his childhood sweetheart wife,  and over the next 30 years he represented Australia in England, Fiji, the United Nations, Mexico, Central America, Papua New Guinea and Malaysia.

In 1997, he was deputy secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and later spent eight years as the Australia Immigration department secretary.

His posting to Indonesia started in November 2005, and the first few year of his tenure was particularly difficult with the worst diplomatic crisis between the two countries since 1999.

In early 2006, 43 Papuans arrived in Australia seeing asylum.

The government’s decision to grant an Australia Visa to 42 of them deeply angered Indonesia, who saw it as a sign that Australia supported Papuan separatism.

The Lombok Treaty signed later that year, in which Australia reaffirmed its commitment to Indonesia's territorial integrity, soothed difficulties.

Relations between Australia and Indonesia have been excellent since 2007.

The federal government is yet to make an official announcement about Mr Farmer’s replacement. 

The Australian Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in helping people lodge their Australia visa applications with the Australian Embassy.   

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