Richard Broinowski

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Richard Broinowski
Born (1940-05-08) 8 May 1940 (age 78)
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Nationality Australian
Alma mater University of Adelaide (LLB)
Harvard Kennedy School (MPA)
Occupation Public servant, diplomat
Children Anna Broinowski
Adam Broinowski

Richard Philip Broinowski (born 8 May 1940) is a former Australian public servant and diplomat. He worked in Mexico, Korea, Vietnam, Japan, the Philippines, Iran and Burma, including as Ambassador to Mexico, Ambassador to Vietnam, and Ambassador to South Korea.

Life and career[edit]

Born in Melbourne, Victoria in May 1940, Broinowski was the grandson of Robert Broinowski, a public servant and author about whom the younger wrote a biography: A Witness to History (published 2001).[1]

Obtaining his Bachelor of Laws from the University of Adelaide in 1961, Broinowski was admitted to the South Australian Supreme Court Bar in Adelaide in 1963. Later in 1963, Broinowski joined the Department of External Affairs as a junior diplomat and began studying Japanese at the Australian National University.[2] His early postings were to Tokyo, Rangoon, Tehran and Manila.[3] In 1975, when sent to Manila, he and his wife Alison Broinowski, whom he had married in 1963, became the first husband and wife the Department had sent to serve in the same mission.[4]

Broinowski was appointed to his first ambassadorial role in 1983, as Australian Ambassador to Vietnam. His appointment in Hanoi was for two years, during a time when the Australian Government wished to restore normal bilateral relations with Vietnam in the post-Vietnam War environment.[5] The appointment was his first term serving separately to his wife, Alison, who was the Australian Government's cultural attache in Tokyo.[6] At the time, Broinowski told media that he had reservations about the Department of Foreign Affairs' rule that a head of mission could not serve in the same legation as his or her spouse.[7]

Between 1987 and 1989 Broinowski was Australian Ambassador to South Korea, including during the time of the 1988 Summer Olympics.[3]

From 1990 he worked for three years at the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, as managing director of Radio Australia,[8] before returning to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in 1993. His final ambassadorial posting was announced in April 1994,[9] as Australian Ambassador to Mexico, before his retirement in 1997.[3]

In retirement, Broinowski became an Adjunct Professor in Media and Communications, working first at the University of Canberra before moving to the University of Sydney. He is President of Australian Institute of International Affairs NSW.[10]

Books published[edit]

  • A Witness to History: The life and times of Robert Broinowski. Melbourne University Press. 2001. ISBN 0522849423.
  • Fact or Fission?: The truth about Australia's nuclear ambitions. Scribe. 2003. ISBN 192076903X.
  • Driven: A diplomat's autobiography. ABC/HarperCollins. 2009. ISBN 9780733324031.
  • Fallout from Fukushima. Scribe. 2012. ISBN 9781922070166.


  1. ^ Richard Broinowski interviewed by Sara Dowse, 18 August 2005, retrieved 14 January 2017
  2. ^ Our People: NSW Executive & Council 2016, Australian Institute of International Affairs, archived from the original on 25 April 2016, retrieved 14 January 2017
  3. ^ a b c "Richard Broinowski", The Conversation, archived from the original on 12 September 2015, retrieved 14 January 2017
  4. ^ Drummond, Lyn (5 August 1979). "Marriage and the diplomatic service". The Canberra Times. p. 7.
  5. ^ "New Ambassador to Vietnam appointed". The Canberra Times. 2 June 1983. p. 3.
  6. ^ "Mission head to miss wife". The Canberra Times. 5 June 1983. p. 16.
  7. ^ Hayman, Roslyn (10 August 1984). "Vietnam perspective of ambassador shows on visit to his wife". The Canberra Times. p. 2.
  8. ^ Case, Jo (11 October 2012), Working with Words: Richard Broinowski, Wheeler Centre, archived from the original on 14 January 2017, retrieved 14 January 2017
  9. ^ "New ambassadors". The Canberra Times. 14 April 1994. p. 16.
  10. ^ Richard Broinowski: President of AIIA NSW, Australian Institute of International Affairs, archived from the original on 23 April 2016
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
John McCarthy
Australian Ambassador to Vietnam
Succeeded by
Ian Lincoln
Preceded by
Lance Joseph
Australian Ambassador to South Korea
Succeeded by
Darren Gribble
Preceded by
Keith Baker
Australian Ambassador to Mexico
Australian Ambassador to Cuba

Succeeded by
Robert Hamilton