Media release from the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

D15 - 25 August 2005

DFAT Employee Wins Expand EA/PA of the Year for 2005

An officer of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Ms Robyn Cook, yesterday won the Expand 2005 Personal Assistant of the Year Award. Currently on posting in Jakarta as the Personal Assistant to Ambassador David Ritchie, Ms Cook has worked as a PA to some of Australia’s most senior and high profile Heads of Mission for nearly 20 years, including on postings in Belgrade, Port Moresby, Athens, Tel Aviv and Bangkok.

Ms Cook received the award for her outstanding performance, most recently in her tireless support for Ambassador Ritchie’s management of Australia’s important and growing relationship with Indonesia.  Her organisational abilities were crucial in the Embassy’s successful response in the aftermath of the Jakarta Embassy bombing in September 2004.

Throughout her career, Ms Cook has consistently demonstrated courage, cultural sensitivity and perseverance.  The award recognises Ms Cook’s personal and professional attributes and her dedication to the job in the face of significant challenges.

In congratulating her on this success, DFAT Secretary, Mr Michael L’Estrange, commended Ms Cook on her commitment and unfaltering service.

“Ms Cook is an outstanding example of how our departmental officers work daily to deliver exceptional results and help to promote Australia’s interests overseas,” Mr L’Estrange said.

Mr L’Estrange also paid tribute to the many departmental employees and families serving overseas in difficult conditions.

Expand is a public-sector network of executive and personal assistants.  The award recognises the contributions made by executive and personal assistants in the Australian Public Service.  The award was presented to Ms Cook by Dr Jeff Harmer, Secretary of the Department of Family and Community Services and Patron of Expand, at a ceremony held at the Hyatt Hotel in Canberra on 24 August 2005.

Contacts:  Chelsey Martin (02) 6261 1555