Dr Brendan Nelson became director of the Australian War Memorial in December 2012. Prior to this, he was the Australian ambassador to Belgium, Luxembourg, the European Union and NATO (2009–12). Apart from overseeing a major transformation in Australia’s relationships with the European Union and NATO, Dr Nelson forged deep links with the communities of Flanders, where almost 13,000 Australians lost their lives during World War I.
Dr Nelson is a former federal minister for defence. During his time as minister, troops were deployed to Iraq, Afghanistan, East Timor and the Solomon Islands. In November 2007, he was elected leader of the Liberal Party of Australia, serving as leader of the Opposition until September 2008. The following year, he retired from federal politics before taking up his ambassadorial appointment.