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Top diplomat to be South Australia's new Governor

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Long-serving senior diplomat Frances Adamson has been named as the next Governor of South Australia.

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Premier Steven Marshall announced this morning that the South Australian-born and educated Adamson will be sworn in as the state’s 36th Governor in October, replacing the incumbent, Hieu Van Le, who has held the post since 2014.

Marshall said Adamson had led the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade as Secretary since 2016 and was previously international advisor to former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

Adamson has also served as Australian ambassador to China from 2011-2015, and had also held postings in Hong Kong and Taiwan, and served twice in the Australian High Commission in London, including as Deputy High Commissioner from 2005-08.

She had also served as chief of staff to Foreign Affairs and Defence Ministers from 2009-10.

Adamson is a University of Adelaide economics graduate and is married to Rod Bunten and has four adult children.

Marshall said she is a “proud South Australian with a plethora of experience in international affairs – vitally important to South Australia as we recover from the once in a century COVID pandemic”.

“Her wealth of knowledge on the international stage will put South Australia in good stead as we continue to put South Australia on the global map.

“We are absolutely delighted with this appointment.”

Adamson said she felt “deeply honoured” to be just the third woman appointed to the role after Dame Roma Mitchell and Marjorie Jackson-Nelson.

“I am greatly looking forward to returning home to serve the people of South Australia and contribute to the state’s international engagement through the promotion of trade, investment and people-to-people links,” she said.

“I feel privileged to be succeeding His Excellency the Honourable Hieu Van Le AC, who has served with such distinction.”

Adamson said her area of expertise was international relations and as Governor she would have a “very strong focus… on assisting state and the people of South Australia to further develop their links with the world in both directions through trade and investment and people-to-people links”.

“The state has a number of sister states, sister provinces, sister cities (and) I’m very keen to build on those,” she said.

“I’ve had a look at where they are already and where South Australia’s trade and investment officials are based and those decisions, it seems to me, very sound.

“I think the diversity of the economy and its strong connections overseas stands the state in very good stead.”

Adamson said she was also aiming to ensure the role of the Governor was better understood.

“Having had the opportunity growing up in South Australia to visit Government House as a schoolchild and then as an adult for various reasons, I think it’s a wonderful asset for the state and I’m very keen that as many South Australians as possible, including young people who perhaps don’t live in Adelaide, have the opportunity to come visit,” she said.

“What Rod and I would like to do – and we will be a team – will be being as open and welcoming and inviting as we can be.”

Asked about her views on South Australia’s constitutional status and whether the state should retain its links with Britain, she said: “South Australia’s constitutional status is very clear”.

Marshall thanked Le for serving as Governor for the past seven years and said a state dinner would be held in his honour at the end of July.

He described Le as “a very hard-working Governor” and “much loved by the people of South Australia”.

“We all love what he brought to that office (and) we’re now equally as excited about the contribution that Frances Adamson is going to make,” he said.

Opposition Leader Peter Malinauskas also thanked Le for his service and said he expected Adamson to serve with “immense distinction”.

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