Friday, 22 May 2015

Is Derry Maddison still Honorary Consul of the Republic of Slovenia for Victoria?


Opening of the Consulate in 2014
According to reports in Glas Slovenije and the Official Gazette of the Republic of Slovenija, (No. 33 of 11 May 2015), Mr Derry Maddison was relieved of his duty as the Honorary Consul of the RS on 2 April this year. The official decision was signed off by the Prime Minister Miroslav Cerar.

However, on 15 May - four days after the publication of the Official Gazette - Mr Derry Maddison gave an interview for SBS Radio in which he is claiming (4:07 minute) that "if and when there will be a change in my position, I promise that you will be notified on time. Until then, however, rolled-up sleeves and hard work go on. In short, the Consulate is operating." The whole interview is conducted under the impression that Mr Derry Maddison still holds his position and agreed to give this interview to shut up the rumours of his resignation.

Mr Derry Maddison was appointed the first Honorary Consul of the Republic of Slovenia for Victoria a little more than one year ago and the new Consulate was formally opened on 7 March 2014. As you may remember, the guest list for the opening ceremony became the focus of considerable controversy, leading to the recall of former Ambassador to the Embassy of the Republic of Slovenia in Canberra, Dr Milan BalaĹžic.

In his interview with Lenti Lenko for SBS Radio as early into his appointment as on 23 May 2014, Mr Derry Maddison  seemed to be particularly unhappy about the financial side of his situation. Apparently unaware that the position of Honorary Consul was unpaid by definition, he complained to the interviewer: "Lenti, I can tell you that this Slovenian Government is so stingy!"  And continued: "... my work is absolutely totally unpaid. Every expense that occurs goes from my pocket. Even when, say, a member comes from Canberra, I pick them up at my expense. (...) That's why this position is called 'honorary'. I hope they will change this - not because I am doing it but because in the future there will be consuls in all Australian states and then these very people will do much more work than Canberra and they would really deserve some payment..."

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