Ms Lawson is currently a/g Deputy Secretary, Geostrategic Group, within DFAT.
She was previously head of East Asia Branch, covering the bilateral relationship with China (since 2017). Other roles have included head of the Indonesia Program Delivery and Timor-Leste Branch, Economic Counsellor in Jakarta, First Secretary (Political) in Beijing and several years in the China Political Section.
Before joining DFAT, Ms Lawson was a China analyst at the Department of Defence and the Office of National Assessments. She also worked in Beijing as a reporter for the Economist Group and as a translator.
Ms Lawson studied modern and classical Chinese at Durham University, UK, including a year at Renmin University in 1990.