Interview News Observatory with Jenny Hanna, the Consul and first Secretary of the Australian Embassy in Madrid.


By Philippe Felix, student at Universidad Europea Madrid.

For the interview concerning news observatory I chose to approach the embassies of Australia and New Zealand as they are very western oriented countries on the other side of the world. After multiple requests, (As embassies are very busy) I finally got the opportunity to do my interview with Jenny Hanna Who has worked in the department of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Australia for 26 years. At this moment, she works as the Consul and First Secretary at the Australian Embassy in Madrid.

Next to the fact that Australia is a very interesting country, I wanted to get some knowledge about the work of embassies, because I consider it as one of my possible future jobs, as I am studying European studies at my home university in the Netherlands. The interview gave me a good insight of the daily life at an embassy, and the tasks they need to deal with. Furthermore she advised me to open up for new things and to explore the local habits when being in an international environment.

 

Madrid- Life sometimes can take an unexpected turn, as Jenny Hanna started studying for a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Psychology, and eventually ended up as Consul and First secretary of the Australian embassy in Madrid. After completing her degree, Ms. Hanna’s plans were to complete a degree in Education to become a teacher, but she could not immediately enroll as a student, which ultimately lead to the decision to start working. After one year of working as a receptionist at a company, a chance in the form of a job as secretary in the department of foreign affairs and trade crossed her path, which she took. After joining the embassy as a desk officer, she got promoted regularly by taking certain chances and working hard. Hanna’s career has taken place in multiple regions such as Asia, the Middle east and finally Europe, which obviously provided her with a lot of experience in working with different cultures. Nowadays, her daily tasks consist of running the embassy by managing for instance the budget and the provision of consular and passport services.

Regarding hot topics in Australia, Ms. Hanna mentioned that the Australian parliament is trying to get legislation in relation to domestic political matters. Next to that, there are some troubles in the housing market, because of rising interest rates, which affects a lot of young people who want to buy their first house. Lastly, there is a lot of debate regarding the refugee policies in Australia, because of the recent increase of the quota to accommodate Syrian refugees.

According to Ms. Hanna, Australia has in comparison to Europe a way tougher policy against refugees and immigrants. As she told me she found that Europe should really consider the resources and level of continental security to take such high number of refugees as they are doing right now. Certain European countries do not take part, or just refuse to accommodate them, which puts extra pressure on countries who do perform their obligations. In conclusion to that fact she mentioned that the European Union is a great initiative, but because of the differing interests of countries problems may occur, such as the already mentioned one.

Concerning cooperation between Spain and Australia there are numerous examples. The most important one is the military cooperation between the two countries in which they exchange specific information and do certain military operations together. Next to that, multiple Spanish companies have construction projects in Australia, and Australian interns teach English in Spain. In the near future Australia and Spain want to expand their activities even further.

When it came down to the differences and similarities between Australia and Spain, she mentioned that their climates are both the same, but that there are some differences in flora and fauna. Furthermore, she found that Spanish people are easy going, but that she had some problems with the hours which people keep. (Going to bed, and time of meals)

Oncoming events of the embassy will consist of a change in a number of officers, and furthermore the appointment of a new ambassador. She said that these events obviously will have an impact on the activities of the embassy in the near future. Last but not least, Ms. Hanna said that Australia want to promote itself even more in Spain by organizing an Australian event in May 2017.’ ‘’

 

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Jenny Hanna

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