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A life-long Australian ambassador

Updated: 2011-08-08 11:36
By Zhang Xiao (chinadaily.com.cn)

Australia's well-traveled ambassador is retiring but isn't going anywhere. He tells Mike Peters his plans for a consulting business - and a book about baijiu.

Geoff Raby's last day in charge at the Australian embassy started at 4:30 am on Friday, with a slew of e-mails and phone calls as two banks haggled for his services. A major law firm Down Under, Corrs Chambers Westgarth, was issuing a press release announcing that Raby would co-chair its China business group.

Soon after the embassy opened, the employees assembled to say farewell at a morning tea. By 11, he was preparing for the first media interview of the day, a video chat with China Daily.

Among ambassadors, Geoff Raby was a classic "old China hand", having been posted twice to Beijing, as the embassy economist the first time in 1986. But he shrugs off that notion, saying that China has never lost the capacity to surprise him.

Related story: Here to stay

A life-long Australian ambassador

Reporter: Mike Peters

Video: Zhang Xiao

Photographer: Wu Chuanjing

Producer: Flora Yue