HE Abel Guterres is the Ambassador of Timor Leste to Australia, New Zealand and Republic of Fiji appointed in 2010. Ambassador Guterres previously held the role of Consul General for Timor-Leste in Sydney from 2003 to 2009. As Consul General, he played a leading role with laying the foundations for the many friendship cities especially in Victoria and New South Wales. During the struggle for the independence of Timor Leste, he was in Australia first as a refugee in 1975 and later as an Australian resident and citizen.
Having lived in Melbourne for the intervening years, he returned to Timor-Leste in 1999 for the first time since 1975 to take part in the United Nations supervised Referendum on Independence.
An active community member in Melbourne, Abel worked in the transport industry, volunteered with the Timorese community and was presenter and broadcaster with Community Radio 3CR, the Timorese language news and current affairs station. Throughout this time, he also worked as an activist on the diplomatic front with the then President of Timor-Leste, His Excellency Dr Jose Ramos-Horta, and played a leading role as a lobbyist in Australia.
In 1990, Abel was officially appointed as the representative of Conselho Nacional de Resistencia Maubere for Australia, New Zealand and Pacific Island Countries on the struggle and liberation of Timor-Leste.
Abel’s many diplomatic roles include heading the Australia, New Zealand and Pacific Islands Desk of the nascent Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation; Deputy Director for Timor-Leste’s most successful Independence Day Celebrations which took place on May 20, 2002; Timor-Leste’s first Consul General to Australia; acting as Chief of Staff for then Prime Minister H.E. Dr. Jose Ramos-Horta in 2007; Director for Bilateral Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. His work has made a significant contribution to building a lasting friendship between Timor-Leste and Australia.