Peter Varghese

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Peter Varghese
Peter Varghese (1).jpg
Varghese, pictured in 2009.
Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Assumed office
3 December 2012 (2012-12-03)
Preceded by Dennis Richardson
Personal details
Born Peter Joseph Noozhumurry Varghese
Nationality Australia Australian
Alma mater University of Queensland
Occupation Diplomat; Public servant

Peter Joseph Noozhumurry Varghese AO[1] (born 1956 in Kenya), an Australian diplomat and public servant, has been the Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade since 3 December 2012.[2][3][4]

Early life and career[edit]

Varghese was born in Kenya to Malayali parents from Kerala, India. He emigrated to Australia as a child in 1964. He studied history and graduated from the University of Queensland.[5] with a university medal.[3]

From 2004 to 2009, he was Director-General of the Office of National Assessments,[6] an Australian government intelligence agency which reports directly to the Prime Minister.[7] Prior to this he was the Australian High Commissioner to Malaysia, then Deputy Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.[8][dead link] Immediately prior to his appointment as Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Varghese served as Australia's High Commissioner to India, with concurrent accreditation to Bhutan, between August 2009[5] and October 2012. Varghese has also served overseas in Tokyo (1994), Washington (1986–88) and Vienna (1980–83).[3]


In 2010, Varghese was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia for distinguished service to public administration, particularly in leading reform in the Australian intelligence community and as an adviser in the areas of foreign policy and international security.[1]

Varghese was conferred with a Doctor of Letters honoris causa by the University of Queensland in July 2013 in recognition of his distinguished service to diplomacy and Australian Public Service.[3]


Varghese is married and has an adult son.[5]

See also[edit]


References and further reading[edit]

Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
John McCarthy
Australian High Commissioner to India
Succeeded by
Patrick Suckling
Preceded by
Robert Cotton
Australian High Commissioner to Malaysia
Succeeded by
James Wise
Government offices
Preceded by
Kim Jones
Director-General of the Office of National Assessments
Succeeded by
Allan Gyngell
Preceded by
Dennis Richardson
Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
2012 – present