President and Ambassador’s Farewell

21.06.2016 Homepage

On Wednesday, 15 June, the German-Australian Chamber had the great pleasure of hosting a farewell for Former Chamber President Ms Lucy Hughes Turnbull AO and German Ambassador to Australia H.E. Dr Christoph Müller. Taking place at the beautiful Chiswick function room at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, this special event was made possible with the kind support of the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany. Ms Turnbull and Dr Müller are two very influential figures who have done much to improve and build on the German-Australian bilateral relationship.

The afternoon’s proceedings began at 3:00 pm, with invited guests walking through the gallery up to the exclusive Chiswick function area. Adjacent to the gallery’s restaurant, the room has floor-to-ceiling windows with stunning views over Woolloomooloo. All attendees were welcomed upon arrival and registration by Chamber staff, who then moved into the event space to enjoy canapes and beverages. Networking and mingling began immediately, with guests of the Chamber member company network and the Embassy keen to meet.  During this time, the Chamber was privileged to welcome Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Minister Matthias Cormann and Former NSW Governor Dame Marie Bashir, all of whom were well-received and began discussions with various attendees.

At 3:30 pm, the Chamber’s Executive Director, Kristian Wolf, moved to the lectern to officially welcome everyone, with particular mention of the special guests, the President and the Ambassador. Kristian expressed heartfelt appreciation on behalf of the entire Chamber, thanking both individuals for their combined efforts over a number of years. Following this, Kristian welcomed Minister Cormann to the stage.

Minister Cormann gave an engaging speech about the achievements of Ms Turnbull and Dr Müller, with particular regard to German-Australian relations and the establishment of the Australia-Germany Advisory Group.

Following Minister Cormann’s presentation, Kristian Wolf returned to welcome Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to the stage. Mr Turnbull spoke with great sincerity about the importance of the German-Australian bilateral relationship and the valuable contributions made by German companies and individuals in Australia. Furthermore, he detailed his personal pride in his wife’s achievements and in all that she has done within and beyond the German-Australian business community. It was a heartfelt speech, and the Prime Minister was rightly emotional in describing the respect and love that he has for his wife.

After the Prime Minister’s speech, the Chairman of the Chamber Board, Mr Ron Koehler, made his way up to the lectern and joked about the pressure of following the Prime Minister at such an event. In his speech, Mr Koehler then went into further detail about the numerous achievements of Ms Turnbull and Dr Müller in their respective roles as President and Patron of the Chamber. 

Some of Ms Turnbull’s achievements include being the first female Mayor of Sydney, becoming an Officer of the Order of Australia and receiving an honorary Doctorate of Business from the University of New South Wales. Ambassador Dr Müller has also enjoyed a long and illustrious career, spanning political and diplomatic roles in Germany, Zimbabwe, China, Switzerland, Belgium, Peru and Australia. Ms Turnbull and Dr Müller have also been consistently involved in many of our flagship events, including our Annual Gala Dinner, President’s and New Year Receptions and of course the Annual General Meeting and Economic Outlook.

Concluding the first round of congratulatory speeches, Ambassador Dr Müller then moved to the stage to reflect on his time with the Embassy and as the Patron of the Chamber. At the end of his speech, he welcomed Ms Turnbull to the stage to award her the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany (Bundesverdienstkreuz der Bundesrepublik Deutschland). This award is a fantastic honour and recognises great, prolonged service to Germany. Ms Turnbull was thrilled to receive the award, and followed the Ambassador with her thanks and a brief reflection on her time with the Chamber. Altogether, it was wonderful to hear both of these celebrated individuals share their thoughts, memories and stories about the German-Australian business community, and offer some insight about where it is heading into the future.

Kristian Wolf brought the spoken segment to a close, presenting gifts of appreciation to Ms Turnbull and Dr Müller, namely flowers and two beautiful pictorial books on Berlin and Australian landscapes. Kristian then welcomed the VIP, attendees and Chamber staff to gather for group photos.

The rest of the afternoon provided further opportunity for networking and discussion, with coffee, tea and even more delicious canapes for the sweet tooths in the room, including strawberry macaroons with tarragon and white chocolate, apple and hibiscus crumble tarts and an irresistible espresso chocolate tarts. As delicious as all of these miniature desserts were, it appears that the macaroon received the biggest stamp of approval. 

We at the Chamber would like to thank everyone who took the time to participate in this wondrous event. We are grateful for all of the efforts made by our outgoing President and the German Ambassador, and feel that this was the perfect forum for the German-Australian business community to recognise and celebrate their contributions. Last, we extend our deepest gratitude to our additional VIP guests on the day, including Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Minister Mathias Cormann and Former Governor Dame Marie Bashir. Their participation added a further dimension to the afternoon. This was a farewell that will be remembered for many years to come.

Visit our flickr page for more pictures of the event.