Australian High Commissioner to Brunei Darussalam
The Australian High Commission has enjoyed a warm relationship with the Brunei Government and its people since we established formal diplomatic ties and opened a High Commission in Bandar Seri Begawan more than 35 years ago. These bonds are anchored in our proud shared history, dating back to the final stages of World War II when Australian troops contributed to the liberation of Borneo.
Today, our warm and long-standing bilateral relationship is built on these strong defence ties, the many thousands of Bruneians who have chosen to study in Australia, our healthy trade relationship, and our cooperation in regional organisations to promote a stable, inclusive, resilient and prosperous Indo-Pacific.
Australia remains a popular study destination with over 12,000 Bruneians educated in Australia. I am pleased to also welcome the growing number of young Australians who chose to study in Brunei under the New Colombo Plan, further deepening our people-to-people links and cross-cultural understanding.
Our strong Defence relationship is built on mutual respect and trust. Since the signing of our first Defence Memorandum of Understanding in 1985, Australia and Brunei have undertaken numerous bilateral military exercises, policy dialogues, training and capacity building exchanges. The trajectory of our Defence engagement is positive with many opportunities available to deepen the collaboration between our Armed Forces.
Our two countries two-way trade is worth around $1 billion a year and is clearly visible with many high-quality Australian products available in Brunei. Australia and Brunei also work closely together to promote trade liberalisation and advance economic integration and cooperation thanks to agreements such as the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement (AANZFTA), the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).
I am particularly looking forward to progressing all of this important work by supporting Brunei in 2021 as the Association of South East Asia Nations (ASEAN) Chair. Australia is ASEAN’s oldest dialogue partner and we are committed to supporting ASEAN-centrality in the Indo-Pacific.
Not only is Australia committed to working with our Indo-Pacific neighbours, including Brunei and other ASEAN member countries, but also in promoting security and prosperity in our region. The international rules based order and ongoing international cooperation will be crucial to overcoming the COVID-19 pandemic and it is imperative that we work together to manage the health and economic impacts and support regional recovery.
The diverse Australian community in Brunei are important advocates for Australia, and I look forward to engaging and continuing to support them as part of my role as Australian High Commissioner.
In addition, I will be working to deepen my understanding and appreciation of the diversity and strength of Brunei as I forge connections with the Brunei Government and wonderful people of Brunei.
Follow me on my journeys in Brunei on Instagram @duta.oz.bn.
Ms Tiffany McDonald is a career diplomat and has previously served in Seoul, London and Jakarta. In Canberra, she has worked in the Agriculture and Non-Tariff Barriers Branch and as Head of Great Barrier Reef Taskforce. She has also held a number of other roles in the Central Asia Branch, Environment Branch and as a Legal Specialist. Before joining Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Ms McDonald was a lawyer. She has also previously worked with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees in Indonesia. She holds a Master of Laws from the University of Queensland, a Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Laws from the Australian National University and is learning Bahasa Brunei. She is accompanied in Brunei by her husband and daughter, and will be joined by her son when he completes his studies in Australia.