Two months after he relinquished the position of Governor-General, Sir John Kerr was appointed Australian Ambassador to UNESCO.
Fraser announced the appointment on February 9, 1978. Kerr’s position with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, based in Paris, was due to commence on March 2.
Following protests and criticism, Kerr resigned the position on March 1.
- March 2, 1978: Kerr Quits UNESCO Post
Statement by Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser.
Australian Ambassador To UNESCO
The Prime Minister announced the appointment of Sir John Kerr as Australian Ambassador to UNESCO.
Sir John, former Governor-General of Australia, retired in December and is at present on a private tour overseas.
The position of Ambassador to UNESCO was created during the administration of the former Government. The Ambassador was withdrawn in September 1976 and his functions reverted to the Ambassador to France, His Excellency Mr H. D. Anderson, O.B.E. Since then, the commitments to Australia arising from its membership of UNESCO, coupled with our growing relations with France, have led the Government to conclude that the two functions should again be separated.
The Prime Minister said that he regarded Sir John Kerr as admirably qualified for the post of Ambassador. Apart from his distinguished career in the law and as Chief Justice of New South Wales, his knowledge of Australia and Australians, together with his wide experience of educational, cultural and other-aspects of public life, would be valuable assets to him in representing Australia in this important international organisation.
Sir John’s appointment will be for three years. He will be based in Paris.