Ambassador’s Gala Dinner 2019

The Ambassador’s Gala Dinner, proudly supported by HSBC Australia, on Friday, 18 October provided not only a great opportunity to meet the new Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to Australia H.E. Dr Thomas Fitschen, but also allowed our 160 participants to make valuable connections within the German-Australian community as well as the NSW government.

At around 6.30pm the first guests arrived. An opportunity was given to take pictures in their black-tie wardrobe in front of the media wall displaying our sponsors for the evening: Principal Partner HSBC Australia as well as Supporting Partner SAP Australia. At 7pm then the dinner commenced with a Welcome to Country delivered by Uncle Allen Madden. The Gadigal Elder from the Eora nation and cultural representative for the Metropolitan Local Aboriginal Land Council warmly welcomed our members and friends before our MC Karen Middleton, Chief Political Correspondent at The Saturday Paper took the stage. By means of a little anecdote Karen shared her personal connection to Germany with us and then delivered a bit of an outlook of what could be expected on the evening.

Ron Koehler, Vice President of the German-Australian Chamber of Industry and Commerce (AHK) welcomed all guests on behalf of the Chamber and especially welcomed the new German Ambassador Dr Thomas Fitschen to Australia and the German-Australian community. He thanked Principal Partner HSBC for their great and continuous support as well as Supporting Partner SAP. Ron then touched upon the great importance of the German-Australian relationship and the Chamber’s commitment to foster this relationship and develop mutually beneficial opportunities. Recent examples were AHK’s delegation to Germany in cooperation with the European Australian Business Council (EABC) and the continuous involvement of the Chamber in the Australia-EU Free Trade Agreement.

After the entrée, Karen introduced the main sponsor of the night: HSBC Australia. With a short video, HSBC presented themselves before Acting CEO Noel McNamara was invited to address our guests. Noel elaborated on the great and lasting relationship and cooperation between the Chamber and HSBC before he introduced the Ambassador and invited him to stage.

Dr Thomas Fitschen mentioned the many initiatives to deepen the bilateral relationship further that he already could observe since his recent arrival. An example is the Australia Germany Joint Economic Committee that had its first meeting with German Federal Minister Peter Altmaier and Australian Minister Mathias Cormann in June in Berlin with the German-Australian Chamber Delegation to Germany. Among the many other bilateral projects, the Ambassador also highlighted the bilateral Energy Working Group and the recent Energy Dialogue in Melbourne that was organised in collaboration with the German-Australian Chamber. He further welcomed the close collaboration in science and research and the establishment of the new Industry Research Committee by the Chamber that will further enhance collaboration.

With the service of the main course Karen asked the last speaker of the night NSW Minister for Finance and Small Business the Hon. Damien Tudehope MLC on stage. Minister Tudehope, on this occasion representing the Premier Gladys Berejiklian, added to the previous addresses and especially focused on the excellent state of the New South Wales – Germany relationship. This was emphasised by the first visit of a New South Wales Premier to Germany in over 16 years when Premier Gladys Berejiklian visited Munich and Berlin. There, she signed a number of Memoranda of Understanding for major projects in New South Wales with German companies. Minister Tudehope also spoke about his optimism about a further deepening of the relationship and thanked the German-Australian Chamber for its role and engagement in the New South Wales – Germany relationship.

MC Karen Middleton then thanked the Minister and announced the opening of the cocktail bar and reminded participants to submit their names for the HSBC prize draw. Guests then got a little taste of what was yet to come when Superstitious, a 9-piece band, started to play their dinner act. Then it was time to draw the winner for the two tickets to the 2019 Australian Open Golf, generously sponsored by HSBC Australia. Johannes Zimmermann, Senior Relationship Manager and Head of European Desk at HSBC Australia, together with Karen Middleton draw the winner. Alicia Haesslein, Melbourne-based lawyer at Hall & Wilcox, was the lucky one to take the prize home. This also marked the end of the formalities for the evening and the stage was opened for Superstitious. With their huge repertoire the band managed to draw people on the dance floor within minutes and the guests enjoyed the rest of the night dancing and mingling.

By the end of the night everyone went home with a smile on their face and the knowledge to have spent a great night out with interesting speeches about the German-Australian relationship from the Ambassador and the NSW government as well as a fun night out meeting new connections and enjoying the company of already known friends.

The German-Australian Chamber would like to thank Principal Partner HSBC Australia for their great support and commitment to the Chamber as well as SAP Australia for their continuous involvement in our events.

We hope that all guests enjoyed the night and we hope to see you all at one of our upcoming events soon again!