DIPLOMATIC APPOINTMENT – HIGH COMMISSIONER TO FIJI
(Media Release issued by the Minister for Foreign Affairs Hon. Alexander Downer on January 09, 2007)
Today I have announced the appointment of Mr James Batley as Australia’s High Commissioner to the Republic of the Fiji Islands, with concurrent accreditation to Tuvalu and the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat.
Mr Batley will replace Ms Jennifer Rawson who has been High Commissioner since August 2003 and who shall shortly complete her full term. Mr Batley is expected to take up his appointment this month.
The Australian Government has unequivocally condemned last month’s coup against the democratically elected government of Fiji, and has put in place a number of measures to reflect its concerns. Those measures include travel restrictions on individuals involved in the overthrow of the Qarase Government, the suspension of defence cooperation and the suspension of parts of the aid program. We continue to have a High Commissioner in Fiji to safeguard and advance Australia’s interests and our good relations with the people of Fiji. As far as possible, Australia will not take any action in response to the coup that hurts the people of Fiji.
Mr Batley is a career foreign service officer who joined the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in 1984. He was most recently Special Coordinator to Solomon Islands, a position he held from August 2004 until November 2006.
In Australia, Mr Batley served in the South Pacific Bilateral Section (1988-89), Director, Papua New Guinea Section (1994) and, as Assistant Secretary, Mainland South-East Asia and South Asia Branch (2002-2004).
Overseas, Mr Batley has served as Third Secretary, Australian High Commission, Port Vila (1985-88), First Secretary, Australian High Commission, Port Moresby (1990-93), Counsellor, Australian Embassy, Jakarta (1995-97) and as High Commissioner to Solomon Islands (1997-99), concurrently serving as Deputy Leader of the Truce Monitoring Group, Bougainville and Chief Negotiator of the Peace Monitoring Group, Bougainville. From 1999-2002 Mr Batley served as Australia’s senior diplomatic representative in Dili, East Timor, and was appointed Australia’s first Ambassador to East Timor at independence in May 2002.
Mr Batley was born in Sydney in 1958 and holds a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) degree from Sydney University.