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Chris Slatter

My Blog


An Australian in Rome

Tags: rome fischer domus 


One of the nice things about Australians is the national desire for equality.
One Australian is as worthy of respect as another and affairs are conducted in a spirit of affable informality; why stand on ceremony when everyone is equal? Prime Ministers, church dignitaries and even on occasions army generals invite casual acquaintances to address them by their christian names. In protocol drenched Europe where everyone is concerned with status I had forgotten that in one corner of the world, a corner of which I am a citizen, people do not stand on ceremony. I was reminded of this yesterday when I was invited to attend a presentation on food security hosted by the Australian Ambassador to the Holy See. His Excellency, the Ambassador is the former Australian Deputy Prime Minister Tim Fischer who served in this capacity for three years in the Howard government.
This charming and extremely accomplished member of the Australian diplomatic corps chaired the presentation and was on first name terms with everyone present. The room was stuffed with diplomats from different parts of the globe and he knew them all and after a few minutes so did we. The stiffness, dare I say stuffiness, that characterises many nations’ plenipotentiaries melted away in this atmosphere of genial informality.
At the cocktail session after the presentation, His Excellency the Ambassador greeted the guests in a stockman’s hat, an Akubra I surmised, handing out drinks and sandwiches with informal gusto. It made me wonder what it must be like for the Royal Family when they host an Australian visitor, or what it would be like if an Australian were to be appointed to, say, the Middle East Quartet. Most negotiations would benefit, I believe, from a glass or two of informality.
Tim Fischer did give us an insight into how it might work when he gave us his definition of diplomacy. “Diplomacy,” he said “consists of protocol, vitriol, alcohol and panadol.”

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About Me

I have been an advertising copywriter, film director, teacher of screenwriting and a television producer. I have worked for some of the world's largest advertising agencies in Australia and the UK before attending the London Film School for two years.

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