Peter Wilenski

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Peter Wilenski
AC
Secretary of the Department of Labor and Immigration
In office
31 March 1975 – 22 December 1975
Secretary of the Department of Education and Youth Affairs
In office
25 March 1983 – 1 November 1983
Secretary of the Department of Transport and Communications
In office
24 Jul 1987 – 30 September 1988
Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
In office
15 February 1992 – 14 May 1993
Personal details
Born Peter Stephen Wilenski
10 May 1939
Łódź, Poland
Died 3 November 1994(1994-11-03) (aged 55)
Sydney, Australia
Nationality Australia Australian
Spouse(s) Gail Radford
Jill Hager
Children Michael and Katie
Alma mater University of Sydney
University of Oxford
Occupation Public servant

Peter Stephen Wilenski AC (10 May 1939 – 3 November 1994) was a senior Australian public servant and ambassador. He was a champion of women's rights and equal opportunity.

Early life[edit]

Peter Wilenski was born in Łódź, Poland on 10 May 1939.[1][2] He came to Australia in 1943 as a Jewish refugee, due to World War II conflict and persecution of Jewish people in his home country.[3] His family spent time in a Soviet internment camp before coming to Australia.[4] For high school education, he attended Sydney Boys High School.[4] He later studied at the University of Sydney where he met his first wife, Gail Radford, when both were student politicians.[5]

Career[edit]

Wilenski entered the Australian Public Service as a Foreign Affairs Officer (1967–71).[1]

Wilenski's first Secretary role was in the Department of Labor and Immigration, appointed by the Whitlam Government in March 1975 fresh from a position as private secretary to Prime Minister Gough Whitlam.[6] Just months after his appointment, the federal opposition were promising to sack Wilenski when they were back in power.[7]

In March 1983 Wilenski was placed in his second Secretary role, this time as head of the Department of Education and Youth Affairs. His tenure at the department was a short seven months.[8]

Wilenski was appointed Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in 1992, but retired from the position in 1993 due to ill health.[4][9]

Awards[edit]

In 1994, Wilenski was named a Companion of the Order of Australia for service to international relations and to public sector reform, particularly through fostering the implementation of social justice and equity principles.

Death[edit]

Wilenski died on 3 November 1994 at his home in Sydney after battling lymphatic cancer for several years.[10]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b CP 451: Dr Peter Stephen WILENSKI AC, AO, National Archives of Australia, retrieved 22 January 2014 
  2. ^ "Peter Wilenski; Former Ambassador, 55". The New York Times. 14 November 1994. Archived from the original on 22 January 2014. 
  3. ^ Evans, Gareth (22 June 1995). THE WORLD AFTER WILENSKI: AN AUSTRALIAN WHO MATTERED (Speech). Inaugural Peter Wilenski Memorial Lecture. Canberra. Archived from the original on 10 June 2007. 
  4. ^ a b c Rosemary Follett and Kate Carnell (8 November 1994). http://web.archive.org/web/20130519045849/http://www.hansard.act.gov.au/hansard/1994/pdfs/19941108.pdf |chapter-url= missing title (help) (PDF). Parliamentary Debates (Hansard). Australian Capital Territory. pp. 3767–3770. Archived from the original (PDF) on 19 May 2013. 
  5. ^ Radford, Gail (7 March 2013). My life in Canberra (PDF) (Speech). Canberra Museum and Gallery. Archived from the original (PDF) on 22 January 2014. 
  6. ^ CA 1769: Department of Labor and Immigration, Central Office, National Archives of Australia, retrieved 23 January 2014 
  7. ^ "Opposition pledges to sack Wilenskis". The Sydney Morning Herald. 4 September 1975. p. 2. 
  8. ^ CA 3494: Department of Education and Youth Affairs, Central Office, National Archives of Australia, retrieved 23 January 2014 
  9. ^ Keating, Paul (14 May 1993). "Dr Peter Wilenski, AO" (Press release). Archived from the original on 10 November 2013. 
  10. ^ "Peter Wilenski, former envoy from Australia", Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 14 November 1994: 18 

Further reading[edit]

Government offices
Preceded by
Ian Sharp
Secretary of the Department of Labor and Immigration
1975
Succeeded by
Lloyd Bott
as Secretary of the Department of Immigration and Ethnic Affairs
Preceded by
Kenneth Norman Jones
Secretary of the Department of Education and Youth Affairs
1983
Succeeded by
Helen Williams (Acting)
Preceded by
William Cole
Chairman of the Public Service Board
1983 – 1987
Succeeded by
John Enfield
Preceded by
Charles Halton
as Secretary of the Department of Communications
Secretary of the Department of Transport and Communications
1987 – 1988
Succeeded by
Graham Evans
Preceded by
Rae Taylor
as Secretary of the Department of Transport
Preceded by
Collin Freeland
as Secretary of the Department of Aviation
Preceded by
Richard Woolcott
Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
1992 – 1993
Succeeded by
Michael Costello
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Michael Costello (acting)
Permanent Representative of Australia to the United Nations
1989 – 1992
Succeeded by
Richard Butler