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Peter Tesch Bio Image

Peter Tesch

Adjunct Professor in the School of Languages and Cultures, University of Queensland and Visiting Fellow at the Centre for European Studies, Australian National University

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Peter Tesch had a distinguished 35-year career in the Australian federal public service most recently serving as Deputy Secretary in the Department of Defence until August 2022.

After graduating from the University of Queensland, Peter joined the Department of Foreign Affairs in 1987.  His roles included: Ambassador to the Russian Federation (2016-2019); head of the International Security Division (2014-2015); Ambassador to Germany (2009-2013); Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations (2002-2005); Ambassador to Kazakhstan (1997-1999); and Third Secretary in the USSR (1989-1991).  He also served in the Office of the Minister for Trade (1993-1994) and as Deputy Director of the department’s Victorian State Office (1994-1996).  He was project director for Australia’s participation in the world expos in Hannover (2000) and, until his appointment to Berlin, Shanghai (2010).

As Deputy Secretary for Strategy, Policy, and Industry in the Department of Defence (2019-2022), Peter led a group of more than 500 people, with a budget of over $700 million.  He was centrally involved in the development and implementation of strategy and policy governing the Australian Defence Force’s activities in and beyond the Indo-Pacific region.  The launch in September 2021 of the AUKUS partnership with the United Kingdom and the United States saw Peter take the Australian lead for AUKUS Advanced Capabilities (“Pillar Two”), focusing on generating warfighting advantages for our militaries in areas like hypersonic, underseas warfare, artificial intelligence, and quantum sensing.