At a time of significant uncertainty about the shape of the future global order, the Australian Government is preparing its first foreign policy white paper since 2003. On 15 February, the Lowy Institute hosted the former Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Peter Varghese AO in conversation with Lowy Institute Executive Director Dr Michael Fullilove and Director of Polling Alex Oliver for a timely discussion about the White Paper process and how Australia should position itself to advance its interests over the next decade.
Peter Varghese AO was Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade from 2012 to 2016 and is the 14th Chancellor of the University of Queensland. His previous appointments include High Commissioner to India, Director-General of the Office of National Assessments, High Commissioner to Malaysia, and Senior Advisor (International) to the Prime Minister of Australia. Mr Varghese was appointed an Officer in the Order of Australia (AO) in 2010 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. Mr Varghese was head of the White Paper Secretariat (1996-97) which drafted Australia’s first White Paper on foreign and trade policy.