Philip Flood

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Philip Flood
Philip Flood.jpg
Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
In office
8 March 1996 – 31 March 1998
Personal details
Born Philip James Flood
Nationality Australia Australian
Spouse(s) Carole Flood[1]
Alma mater University of Sydney
Occupation Diplomat and public servant

Philip James Flood AO, (born 1935[2]) is a distinguished former Australian diplomat and a former senior public servant. The highlights of Flood's career include Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and former High Commissioner to the United Kingdom. He Ambassador to Indonesia, Director-General of the Australian Agency for International Development, the Director-General of the Office of National Assessments, and the Head of the Inquiry into the Australian Intelligence Community (known as the Flood Report).

Since his retirement from the public service in 2000, Flood has been actively involved with CARE Australia, the Australia-Indonesia Institute and Asialink; and has headed several public inquiries, the most recent being the Inquiry into Plasma Fractionation, the Inquiry into Australia’s Intelligence Agencies and the Inquiry into Detention Centres.

Public service career[edit]

Flood attended the University of Sydney, obtaining a Bachelor of Economics (Hons) degree, before joining the Department of External Affairs in 1958. Flood rose quickly through the diplomatic ranks at the department, serving at the Australian mission to the European Economic Community in Brussels. He returned to Australia and served as Executive Assistant to the then Secretary of External Affairs, Sir Arthur Tange. He then was posted to the Australian Embassy in Paris and Delegation to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, where he was Counsellor. He then served as Australia's High Commissioner to Bangladesh.

Appointed to the Australian Embassy in the United States in 1976,[3] Flood served as Minister and Deputy Head of Mission and subsequently appointed to the post of Chief Executive for Special Trade Negotiations. In 1985 he was appointed Deputy Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. In 1989, Flood was appointed Australia's Ambassador to Indonesia; serving until 1993. Upon his return to Australia, Flood became Director General of AusAID, the Australian development cooperation agency. In 1995, Flood was appointed Director General of the Australian Office of National Assessments.[1]

In 1996, Flood was appointed Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade; until his appointment in 1998 as Australian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom; and his retirement from the diplomatic service in 2000.[4]

Career after public service[edit]

Appointed a Director of the Australia Indonesia Institute in 2000, the following year Flood was appointed by Alexander Downer as Chairman of the Institute,[5] where he served until 2004. Flood served as Deputy Chair CARE Australia 2007-2012, Board member from 2003; Deputy Chair Asialink 2005-2009, Board member from 2004; and member of Foreign Affairs Council 2004-2007.

Flood headed the Inquiry into Immigration Detention Centres which reported to the Australian Government in February 2001; the report condemned the then detention centre at Woomera, and especially its treatment of children.[6] He also headed the Inquiry into Australian Intelligence Agencies, which reported in July 2004;[7][8][9] and the Inquiry into Plasma Fractionation,[10] which reported in December 2006. The Inquiry into Australian Intelligence Agencies was the major report into the failure of intelligence on the Iraq War.


In 1992, Flood was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia in recognition of his service to international relations.[11] He was given the Indonesian Order of Merit, called the Bintang Jasa Utama, for services to the development of relations between Australia and Indonesia.[12] In 2001 Flood was granted the Centenary Medal for his significant contribution over many years to international relations.[13]

Published works[edit]


  1. ^ a b Barker, Geoffrey (24 October 2011). "The diplomat". Inside Story. Australia. ISSN 1837-0497. Retrieved 17 February 2012. 
  2. ^ Who's Who in Australia 2012. Crown Content Pty Ltd. 2012. p. 767. ISBN 1 74095 172 7. 
  3. ^ Juddery, Bruce (30 June 1976). "Washington Post". The Canberra Times. p. 9. 
  4. ^ Wilson, Trevor; Cooke, Graham, eds. (23 November 2006). "Philip Flood, AO". Steady Hands Needed: The role of the Secretary of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Australia 1979-99. Australian National University. Retrieved 17 February 2012. 
  5. ^ Downer, Alexander (18 September 2011). "Appointment of Chairman of the Board of the Australia-Indonesia Institute". Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs (Press release). Commonwealth of Australia. Retrieved 17 February 2012. 
  6. ^ Highfield, John (28 February 2001). "Ruddock under pressure after Flood report" (transcript). ABC Radio. The World Today. Australia. Retrieved 17 February 2012. 
  7. ^ "Flood report diplomatic in its criticism". The Sydney Morning Herald. AAP. 22 July 2004. Retrieved 17 February 2012. 
  8. ^ Flood, Philip (July 2004). "Report of the Inquiry into Australian Intelligency Agencies" (PDF). Inquiry into Australian Intelligency Agencies. Commonwealth of Australia. ISBN 0-646-43736-4. Retrieved 17 February 2012. 
  9. ^ Colvin, Mark; Yaxley, Louise (4 March 2004). "Philip Flood to head intelligence inquiry" (transcript). ABC Radio. PM. Australia. Retrieved 17 February 2012. 
  10. ^ Saunders, Roderick. "Blood products for the treatment of haemophilia – priorities for government". Blood and Organ Donor Strategy Section: Department of Health and Ageing. Commonwealth of Australia. Retrieved 17 February 2012. 
  11. ^ "FLOOD, Philip James: Officer of the Order of Australia". It's an Honour. Commonwealth of Australia. 8 June 1992. Retrieved 17 February 2012. 
  12. ^ "Asialink Leaders Program Retreat - Speaker Biographies (Philip Flood AO)" (PDF). The University of Melbourne (Asialink). p. 9. 
  13. ^ "FLOOD, Philip James: Centenary Medal". It's an Honour. Commonwealth of Australia. 1 January 2001. Retrieved 17 February 2012. 

External links[edit]

  • Flood, Philip (26 September 2011). "Master of the art of diplomacy". The Australian. Retrieved 17 February 2012.  – Edited extracts from Dancing with warriors: a diplomatic memoir
  • Flood, Philip (27 September 2011). "Philip Flood: dancing with warriors". Drive (Interview: audio). Interview with Louise Maher. Canberra, Australia: ABC666. Retrieved 17 February 2012. 
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Jim Allen
Australian High Commissioner to Bangladesh
1974 – 1975
Succeeded by
Tim McDonald
Preceded by
Bill Morrison
Australian Ambassador to Indonesia
1989 – 1993
Succeeded by
Allan Taylor
Preceded by
Neal Blewett
Australian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom
1998 – 2000
Succeeded by
Michael L'Estrange
Government offices
Preceded by
Michael Costello
Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
1996 – 1998
Succeeded by
Ashton Calvert