Peter Varghese

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Peter Varghese
AO
Peter Varghese (1).jpg
Varghese, pictured in 2009.
Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
In office
3 December 2012 (2012-12-03) – 20 July 2016 (2016-07-20)
Preceded by Dennis Richardson
Succeeded by Frances Adamson
Personal details
Born Peter Joseph Noozhumurry Varghese
1956 (age 60–61)
Kenya
Nationality Australian
Alma mater University of Queensland
Occupation Diplomat; Public servant

Peter Joseph Noozhumurry Varghese, AO (born 1956) is an Australian diplomat and public servant. He was the Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade from 3 December 2012 to 22 July 2016.[1][2][3] He announced in November 2015 that he would leave the position in July 2016 to become the chancellor of the University of Queensland.

Early life and education[edit]

Varghese was born in Kenya to Nasrani parents from Kerala, India. He emigrated to Australia as a child in 1964, first moving to Newcastle and two years later heading to Brisbane.[4] He studied history and graduated from the University of Queensland with a university medal.[5][2]

Career[edit]

Varghese's first diplomatic posting was at the Australian Embassy in Vienna from 1980 to 1983. His second overseas posting was at the Embassy of Australia, Washington, D.C. from 1986 to 1988. From 1989 to 1990, Varghese was a speechwriter to Foreign Minister Gareth Evans.[6] Varghese's first Senior Executive Service appointment within the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade was as the Assistant Secretary of the Staffing Branch from 1991 to 1992. In 1994 he was posted to the Australian Embassy in Tokyo in 1994. He was then the First Assistant Secretary of the Public Affairs Division from 1994 to 1996. As Head of the White Paper Secretariat from 1996 to 1997, Varghese led the drafting of Australia’s first white paper on foreign and trade policy. He was appointed the First Assistant Secretary of the International Security Division in 1997 and then seconded to the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet as First Assistant Secretary of the International Division from 1998 to 1999.[2]

In 2000, Varghese was appointed the Australian High Commissioner to Malaysia and served until 2002. He then served as Deputy Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade from 2002 to 2003.[7]

Varghese was then appointed as Senior Adviser (International) to Prime Minister John Howard from 2003 to 2004.[8] From 2004 to 2009, Varghese was Director-General of the Office of National Assessments,[9] an Australian government intelligence agency which reports directly to the Prime Minister.[10]

From August 2009 to October 2012, Varghese was the Australian High Commissioner to India, with concurrent accreditation to Bhutan.[5]

Varghese was then appointed the Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in December 2012, serving until July 2016.

When the Abbott Government took office in September 2013, Varghese had to oversee the integration of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade with Australian Agency for International Development.[11][12] It was announced on 24 November 2015 that he would be stepping down from the position in July 2016 to take on an appointment as chancellor of the University of Queensland.[13][14][15]

Honours[edit]

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.[16]

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.[2]

Personal life[edit]

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

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Gillard, Julia (17 September 2012). "Diplomatic Appointment and Appointment of Secretaries of the Department of Defence and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade". Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (Press release). Commonwealth of Australia. Retrieved 27 October 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Biographical Details – Mr Peter N Varghese: Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade". Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. 8 December 2012. Retrieved 8 December 2012. 
  3. ^ "Organisational Structure" (PDF). Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. 8 December 2012. Retrieved 16 December 2012. 
  4. ^ Hare, Julie (10 August 2016). "New UQ chancellor Peter Varghese at home in his old playground". The Australian. News Corp. 
  5. ^ a b c Smith, Stephen (8 June 2009). "Diplomatic Appointment – High Commissioner to India". Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (Press release). Commonwealth of Australia. Retrieved 8 June 2009. 
  6. ^ Sheridan, Greg (28 November 2015). "Sound hands at the tiller: Malcolm Turnbull's picks astute picks". The Australian. News Corp Australia. Archived from the original on 5 October 2014. 
  7. ^ "ONA Director-General Appointment Announcement of Peter Varghese" (Press release). Prime Minister of Australia. 18 December 2003. Archived from the original on 3 October 2006. 
  8. ^ Sheridan, Greg (28 November 2015). "Sound hands at the tiller: Malcolm Turnbull's picks astute picks". The Australian. News Corp Australia. Archived from the original on 5 October 2014. 
  9. ^ Rudd, Kevin (14 April 2009). "Director-General of the Office of National Assessments". Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (Press release). Commonwealth of Australia. Retrieved 27 October 2013. 
  10. ^ Ramsay, Alan (19 February 2005). "All for the sum total of nothing". The Sydney Morning Herald. 
  11. ^ Massola, James; Mannheim, Markus (31 May 2014). "Abbott prepares for major shake-up of public service". The Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax Media. Archived from the original on 31 May 2014. Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade chief Peter Varghese is said to have disappointed some in the cabinet with his management of the integration of AusAid and DFAT. One Coalition insider said he needed to focus on running his department and not being the junior foreign minister. 
  12. ^ Grattan, Michelle (3 November 2013). "DFAT secretary's tough message about AusAID integration". The Conversation. The Conversation Trust (UK). Archived from the original on 5 October 2014. 
  13. ^ Doran, Matthew (24 November 2015). "Peter Varghese, secretary of Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, to step down". Australian Broadcasting Commission. Archived from the original on 24 November 2015. 
  14. ^ Belot, Henry (24 November 2015). "PM and C secretary Michael Thawley resigns in public service shake up". The Canberra Times. Fairfax Media. Archived from the original on 24 November 2015. 
  15. ^ "Diplomat appointed new UQ chancellor". Sky News. Australian News Channel Pty Ltd. AAP. 24 November 2015. Archived from the original on 24 November 2015. 
  16. ^ "VARGHESE, Peter J N". It's an honour. Commonwealth of Australia. 14 June 2010. Retrieved 29 October 2013. 

References and further reading[edit]

Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
John McCarthy
Australian High Commissioner to India
2009–2012
Succeeded by
Patrick Suckling
Preceded by
Bob Cotton
Australian High Commissioner to Malaysia
2000–2003
Succeeded by
James Wise
Government offices
Preceded by
Dennis Richardson
Secretary of the
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

2012–2016
Succeeded by
Frances Adamson
Preceded by
Kim Jones
Director-General of the
Office of National Assessments

2004–2009
Succeeded by
Allan Gyngell
Academic offices
Preceded by
John Story
Chancellor of the
University of Queensland

2016 –
Incumbent