|Monarch Elizabeth II|
Name Gillian Bird
|Preceded by Gary Quinlan|
Awards Public Service Medal
|Prime Minister Tony Abbott
Full Name Gillian Elizabeth Bird
Alma mater University of Sydney Ecole nationale d'administration
Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove
Gillian Elizabeth Bird PSM (born in Adelaide) is an Australian career diplomat.
Bird graduated from the University of Sydney with a Bachelor of Arts (First Class Honours) and later studied at the prestigious École nationale d'administration.
Bird joined the Department of Foreign Affairs in 1980, and from 1980 to 1983 was based in Paris where she was a representative of the Australian government to the OECD. From 1986 until 1987 Bird served at the Australian embassy in Harare, and from 1990 until 1993 at the Permanent Mission of Australia to the United Nations in New York City.
Bird returned to Australia in 1993 and was appointed Assistant Secretary in the Executive Branch of the foreign ministry, and from 1994 to 1997 was Assistant Secretary in the Peace, Arms Control and Disarmament Branch. From 1997 to 1999 Bird was First Assistant Secretary in International Organisations and Legal Division, and from 1999 to 2002 she was First Assistant Secretary in the South and South-East Asia Division.
After a stint as Head of the Foreign and Trade Policy White Paper Task Force of the Australian foreign department, in 2002 she was appointed as First Assistant Secretary in the International Division of Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. She held this position until 2004, when she was appointed Deputy Secretary in the Executive Branch of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
Concurrent to this role, in 2008 Bird was appointed as Australia's first Ambassador to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations by Stephen Smith, then-Foreign Minister of Australia. Australia became the first ASEAN dialogue partner in 1974, and Bird's appointment enabled Australia to continue friendly relations with the regional bloc, whilst also giving it a voice in helping to solve regional issues.
On 11 June 2014, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott appointed Bird as Permanent Representative of Australia to the United Nations. Bird replaced Gary Quinlan in January 2015 after the expiration of Australia's term on the United Nations Security Council.
Affidavit in NPA agent corruption case
In July 2014 news sites outside of Australia reported that an unprecedented suppression order was issued by the Supreme Court of Victoria for an affidavit from Bird relating to allegations that Securency and Note Printing Australia (NPA) agents had made bribes totaling million of dollars for the purposes of securing contracts to manufacture polymer banknotes to Malaysia, Vietnam, Indonesia, and other countries. A copy of the order published by Wikileaks, reportedly showed that Bird's affidavit and the very fact that the suppression order existed, was suppressed on national security grounds throughout Australian media.
In 2012 Bird was awarded the Public Service Medal for her service over a sustained period, contributing significantly to advancing key priorities of successive Australian Governments in the field of international relations and delivery of consular services. According to award documents, Bird has also displayed outstanding service in the Department’s consular response overseeing incidents ranging from major evacuations of Australians in conflict zones to high-profile individual consular cases. She also played key roles in advancing the bilateral relations with key Association of South East Asian Nations countries which is of fundamental importance to Australian national interests. Bird is an exemplar of the best traditions of the Australian public service and has delivered outcomes of long-lasting importance for Australia.