Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security Studies Australia

ACT Lecture: Mr Bill Farmer AO

  • 02 Jun 2016
  • 17:00 - 19:00
  • ADC Weston Creek


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The title of the presentation:

 ‘Indonesia and Australia: moving on from boats, bombs, beef, bugging and Bali’ 

Outlines the noise and distractions in Australia’s relationship with Indonesia.  This presentation will look at the bigger picture, at how Australia and Indonesia can cooperate in a wider world order and how this positive relationship can grow into the future.


Bill Farmer AO

Bill Farmer joined the Australian Foreign Service in 1969 and served in the Australian diplomatic missions in Cairo, London and Fiji. He was subsequently Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations; Ambassador of Australia to Mexico, the Central American Republics and Cuba; and Australian High Commissioner in Papua New Guinea (1993 – 1995) and Malaysia (1996 – 1997).  Bill was Deputy Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (1997 – 1998); and, from 1998 to 2005, Secretary of the Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs; Secretary of the Department of Reconciliation and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs; and Secretary of the Department of Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs. He was then Australian Ambassador to Indonesia from 2005 to 2010.

In 2010, Bill was appointed to the High-Level Panel of Review of the Australian Aid Program. In 2011, he was appointed to conduct an Independent Review of the Australian Livestock Export Industry, and in 2012 to chair an Independent Review of the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research. In 2014, Bill was appointed Senior Advisor to the Australian Government on the Kokoda Initiative between Australia and Papua New Guinea.

Bill is a member of the Board of the Asia Society Australia, a member of the Board of Trustees of the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust Australia and a member of the Northern Territory Chief Minister’s Advisory Council. Bill was awarded the centenary medal in 2003 and was appointed an Officer in the Order of Australia in 2005.

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