Michael L'Estrange

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Michael L'Estrange
Michael L'Estrange.jpg
Personal details
Born Michael Gerard L'Estrange
(1952-10-12) 12 October 1952 (age 64)
North Sydney, New South Wales
Nationality Australia Australian
Alma mater The University of Sydney;
Oxford University;
Georgetown University;
University of California, Berkeley
Occupation Academic, public servant and diplomat

Michael Gerard L'Estrange AO (born 12 October 1952 in North Sydney, New South Wales) is an Australian academic and former public servant. He is the former Head of the National Security College at the Australian National University, in Canberra. L'Estrange had earlier served a long career in the Australian public service including as a diplomat and as Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.


L'Estrange attended St Aloysius' College in Sydney and then studied history at the University of Sydney residing at St John's College, and graduated in 1974. He went on to win a Rhodes Scholarship in 1975, studying Philosophy, Politics, and Economics at Worcester College, Oxford, graduating in 1979 with first class honours. While at Oxford, he played first-class cricket for Oxford University Cricket Club.[1][2][3]

Returning to Australia, L'Estrange worked for the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, focusing on foreign policy and also undertaking staff work with the Royal Commission on Australia's security and intelligence agencies. In 1987 he was awarded a Harkness Fellowship (he had applied for the Harkness in 1986, but that year it was awarded to Eleanor Hall) and attended the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service of Georgetown University, where the supervisor of his studies was Madeleine Albright. He also studied at the University of California, Berkeley. After this fellowship, he worked as a policy adviser to Australian Liberal Party leaders between 1989 and 1994, and became the executive director of the Menzies Research Centre, a conservative think tank, in 1995. In 1996, with the election of the Howard coalition government, L'Estrange was appointed as Secretary of Cabinet and the head of the Cabinet Policy Unit.[1] L'Estrange and Howard had been neighbours in the 1970s.

From 2000 to 2005, he was the Australian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, after which time he returned to become the Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, between 2005 and 2009.[1][4] In 2007, he was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia for service to the development and implementation of public policy in Australia, particularly national security and foreign policy, and to international relations through fostering diplomatic, trade and cultural interests including strengthening Australia's relationship with the United Kingdom.[5]

In December 2009 he was appointed as the inaugural Executive Director of the National Security College at the Australian National University.[1][6] He stepped down from the role in November 2014 and was replaced by Professor Rory Medcalf.[7]

On 29 May 2014, Rio Tinto announced[8] that, as of 1 September 2014, he would join the Rio Tinto board as a non-executive director.[9] On 7 April 2016, he was appointed to the Qantas board as a non-executive director.[10][11]


  1. ^ a b c d "Professor Michael L'Estrange AO, Head of College, National Security College". National Security College. Australian National University. 2010. Retrieved 30 October 2013. 
  2. ^ Michael L'Estrange at ESPNcricinfo
  3. ^ Michael L'Estrange at CricketArchive (subscription required)
  4. ^ Howard, John (2 February 2000). "Diplomatic Appointment: High Commissioner to the United Kingdom". Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (Press release). Commonwealth of Australia. Retrieved 10 November 2013. 
  5. ^ "L'ESTRANGE, Michael Gerard: Officer of the Order of Australia". It's an Honour. Commonwealth of Australia. 26 January 2007. Retrieved 13 February 2012. 
  6. ^ "Security college reflects ANU national leadership" (Press release). The Australian National University. 2010. Retrieved 7 April 2011. 
  7. ^ Engagement, Crawford; rsvp.crawford@anu.edu.au (14 November 2014). "New Head of National Security College". 
  8. ^ "Rio Tinto appoints new board director". 29 May 2014. 
  9. ^ Ker, Peter (29 May 2014). "Top public servant Michael L'Estrange joins Rio Tinto board" – via The Sydney Morning Herald. 
  10. ^ "Qantas taps Michael L'Estrange to board". 
  11. ^ "Media Releases - ANNOUNCEMENT OF NEW BOARD MEMBER - Qantas News Room". 

External links[edit]

Non-profit organization positions
Preceded by
Inaugural Executive Director
Executive Director of Menzies Research Centre
Succeeded by
Hon Dr Marlene Goldsmith
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Philip Flood
Australian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom
2000 – 2005
Succeeded by
Richard Alston
Government offices
Preceded by
Ashton Calvert
Secretary of the
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

2005 – 2009
Succeeded by
Dennis Richardson