Media Release

16 November 2007

Dr Ashton Calvert AC

On behalf of Ashton’s many serving and former colleagues in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, I extend to his wife Mikie, his children Felicity and Timothy and his father our deepest sympathy on the news today of Ashton’s passing.

Ashton’s career in the Department was one of extraordinary commitment and high achievement.  Over his many years as an officer of the Department, and as Secretary for over six years, he brought to all his responsibilities a formidable intelligence, a deep strategic understanding, a strength of leadership and a clarity of focus on the promotion of Australian interests.

Ashton applied his great skills and attributes to a wide range of foreign and trade policy challenges and he did so in a way that was rigorous, creative and highly productive.  He also encouraged and motivated others in the pursuit of the highest standards of public service.

Ashton’s achievements in the service of the Department were many and enduring.  In particular, his achievements in the context of Australia’s relationship with Japan were far-reaching and deeply significant.  In all his work in the Department, Ashton brought to bear an understanding of the past, a vision for the future and a practical path to achieve progress towards it.  Australia’s international interests benefited greatly from his insight, his wisdom and his commitment. 

Above all, Ashton Calvert led by personal example and by the high standards he set.  This Department owes a very great deal to his skills, his energy and his leadership.  His influence will continue to endure. 

Michael L’Estrange

Media Inquiries:  DFAT Media Liaison on 02 6261 1555