Julie Bishop, former ADF chief in high level international appointments

Julie Bishop has been appointed as UN Special Envoy on Myanmar, while a former ADF chief will advise the government on the death of an Australian aid worker in an Israeli airstrike in Gaza.

Julie Bishop: supporting peace in Myanmar

Ms Bishop, the former foreign affairs minister, replaces Singapore’s Noeleen Heyzer in the United Nations role.

Announcing the appointment, UN Secretary-General António Guterres said Ms Bishop brought with her extensive political, legal, management and senior leadership experience. 

“Throughout her career, Ms Bishop has strengthened engagement with regional partners and led international negotiation efforts, including the first ever United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea conciliation,” he said.

Foreign minister Penny Wong said Australia welcomed the appointment of her predecessor.

“We obviously know Ms Bishop’s experience and abilities and work ethic,” she told a media conference.

“We also know how serious the humanitarian security and political situation is in Myanmar. I’m sure she will do an outstanding job and we stand ready in the Australian Government to provide her with all support in this very important endeavour.”

As Special Envoy Ms Bishop would play a vital role in maintaining international focus and supporting efforts towards a peaceful resolution in the interests of the people of Myanmar,  Ms Wong said.

“Australia will work closely with Ms Bishop … and the international community to deploy our collective efforts to build conditions for sustainable peace in the country,” she said.

Ms Bishop was a member of the federal Parliament between 1998-2019, following a 20-year legal career. She is currently the Chancellor of the Australian National University. 

Advisor on deadly Israeli airstrike named

In another high level international appointment, Ms Wong on Monday announced the appointment of retired Air Chief Marshal Mark Binskin as Special Adviser to the Australian Government on Israel’s response to the Israel Defense Forces strikes that killed Australian Zomi Frankcom, and six of her World Central Kitchen colleagues.

retired Air Chief Marshal Mark Binskin

His appointment will ensure that the investigation is conducted in a manner consistent with the expectations of both the government and the Australian people, Ms Wong said.

“His experience and expertise mean ACM Binskin is eminently qualified to provide the Australian government advice on the sufficiency and appropriateness of steps taken by the Israeli government,” Ms Wong said.

ACM Binskin will provide advice on any further actions that can be taken to ensure a full and transparent investigation, and to hold those responsible to account, she said.

“Australia has made clear to the Israeli Government our expectation and trust that this engagement will be facilitated.”

ACM Binskin was Chief of the Australian Defence Force from 2014 to 2018, and prior to that, as Vice Chief of the Defence Force, and Chief of Air Force.

In 2020, he Chaired the Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements and he is currently Chair of the Civil Aviation Authority and the Pacific Security College.

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