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Dr Ashton Calvert

In January 2005, Dr Calvert retired as Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade after serving in that position for six and a half years.

His leadership of the Department coincided with a period of great challenge and achievement in Australian foreign and trade policy. As well as providing the Government with policy advice at the strategic level, he was responsible for leading and managing an organisation of 3350 staff with 86 overseas posts and an operating budget of around $800 million per annum. During his period as Secretary, Dr Calvert promoted a thorough-going reform campaign which succeeded in greatly sharpening the Department’s focus and lifting its morale and productivity.

From 1993 until 1998 Dr Calvert was Australian Ambassador to Japan heading one of Australia’s most important overseas missions. During this period he played an active role supporting Australian business interests in Japan.

During his career, Dr Calvert acquired extensive experience in Australia’s political and economic relations with Asian countries and the United States. He was a leading proponent of the Government’s trade policy strategy of actively pursuing free trade agreements with major partners in the Asia-Pacific region. He played a key role in the final stages of the negotiation of the free trade agreement with the United States.

On 1 February 2005, Dr Calvert was appointed as a Non-Executive Director to the Boards of Rio Tinto plc and Rio Tinto Limited.

Dr Calvert died on 16 November 2007.