John Dauth has proved beyond doubt that in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade there is life after death. Dauth was Australia’s permanent representative at the UN where he served efficiently in spite of John Howard’s Neanderthal, Washington-induced hatred and suspicion of the world body. He was there for four years and returned to Canberra while he waited for another overseas posting and it is understood he wanted Jakarta. But a personal problem arose; Dauth had formed a close and permanent relationship with a young Ghanaian, the pair were inseparable and the diplomat wanted his partner to accompany him to his next posting. DFAT personnel being the urbane modern-day thinkers they are were not phased by this and the situation was by no means unique.

But not all countries were as benign as DFAT, especially the Muslims, so an Indonesian posting was out of the equation. Countries who did accept same-sex unions at head of mission status were already taken but Wellington, New Zealand was vacant and Dauth opted for this bottom of the rung post and the pair took off. Sadly, the relationship did not last and Dauth was left alone in windy Wellington to ponder his fate which was widely accepted as being retirement. While he was in Canberra for leave and consultations a few months ago he made it known he “wouldn’t mind London” but so did Penny Wensley and both were told it was not an option. There was obviously a politician in the loop at that stage. Dauth went back to Wellington and Wensley ended up in Brisbane’s Government House.

Along came Kevin 08 with what must have seen like manna from heaven for John Dauth – the plum post of Australia’s high commissioner to the Court of St. James – in other words the boy from Gosford was going back to his spiritual home. In the late 70s Dauth was seconded to Buckingham Palace as one of the Queen’s assistant press secretaries where he was given responsibility for looking after the media interests of Prince Charles and while on that post Dauth became a favourite of the Queens and her family and it’s believed the association has continued. While working in London and living in the Palace Dauth shed his boy next door image for that of an English gentleman of high and noble birth and one DFAT wag recalls meeting him in a corridor soon after his return. He said: “G’day mate, welcome home… Hope being at the Palace didn’t change you too much.” Replied His Excellency in very clipped tones: “Good God no old boy, I’m just the same as I always was.”

The circle has made the full turn.

Peter Fray

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