Annual Report 2006-2007
 

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In Memory of Elizabeth O’Neill OAM

  Elizabeth O'Neill OAM

The crash on 7 March 2007 of a Garuda Airlines jet at Yogyakarta airport in Indonesia claimed 21 lives, including DFAT’s Elizabeth O’Neill OAM, Counsellor (Public Affairs) from our Embassy in Jakarta. Three other Jakarta-based government employees also lost their lives in the accident, along with an Australian journalist. They were Allison Sudradjat, Minister-Counsellor (Development Assistance), Brice Steele, Minister-Counsellor (Police Liaison), Mark Scott (Australian Federal Police) and Morgan Mellish (Australian Financial Review). The five were travelling in connection with an official visit to Indonesia by Mr Downer and the Attorney-General, Mr Ruddock.

Elizabeth O’Neill was a respected and admired diplomat. She served with distinction in Indonesia and built bridges of understanding between the two countries. She rose to the often imposing challenges asked of her, responding magnificently and selflessly to the aftermath of both Bali bombings, the Jakarta Embassy bombing, the helicopter crash on the island of Nias and the Indian Ocean tsunami.

Liz’s friends and colleagues within DFAT mourn her loss and feel deeply for the family she has left behind—particularly her husband Wayne, her baby Lucinda, her parents, her sister and her brothers. Liz was much loved in DFAT for her selflessness, her vivacity, her professionalism and her inspired commitment to getting the job done. DFAT is immensely proud of her contribution.

To honour Liz’s memory and to carry forward her legacy, DFAT, in conjunction with the Australia–Indonesia Institute, will sponsor an annual award for two journalists—one Australian, one Indonesian—to be known as the Elizabeth O’Neill Journalism Award. The award will provide opportunities for Indonesian journalists to visit Australia, and Australian journalists to visit Indonesia, to help foster a stronger appreciation of contemporary issues facing each society. The inaugural recipients of the Award are Ms Joanna McCarthy, Journalist, ABC Radio Australia and Ms Meutya Hafid, News reporter and anchor, Metro TV, Indonesia.

 

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