Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (Australia)

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Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (Australia) logo.svg
Ac.dfat.jpg
The R. G. Casey building, head office of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, in Barton, ACT.
Department overview
Formed24 July 1987[1]
Preceding agencies
JurisdictionGovernment of Australia
MottoAdvancing the interests of Australia and Australians internationally
Employees4,958 (at June 2014)[2]
Annual budgetA$1.5 billion (2006/07)
Ministers responsible
Department executive
Child agencies
Websitewww.dfat.gov.au

The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (also called DFAT, ˈdiː.fæˑt, DEE-fat) is the department of the Government of Australia with the responsibility of the foreign policy, foreign relations, foreign aid, consular services, and trade and investment of the Commonwealth of Australia.

The head of the department is the Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, presently Frances Adamson,[3] who reports to the Minister for Foreign Affairs, presently Senator Marise Payne, the Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, presently Senator Simon Birmingham, the Assistant Minister for International Development and the Pacific, presently Ann Ruston, and the Assistant Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, presently Mark Coulton MP, who support the administration of the department.[4]

History[edit]

The department finds its origins in two of the seven original Commonwealth Departments established following Federation: the Department of Trade and Customs and the Department of External Affairs, headed by Harry Wollaston and Atlee Hunt respectively.[5]

The department was abolished on 14 November 1916 and its responsibilities were undertaken by the Prime Minister's Department and the Department of Home and Territories. It was re-established on 21 December 1921.[6]

Until the Second World War, Australia's status as a dominion of the British Empire in the then British Commonwealth meant its foreign relations were mostly defined by the United Kingdom. During this time, Australia's overseas activities were predominantly related to trade and commercial interests, while its external affairs were concerned mostly with immigration, exploration and publicity.[5] The political and economic changes wrought by the Great Depression and Second World War, and the adoption of the 1931 Statute of Westminster, necessitated the establishment and expansion of Australian representation overseas, independent of the British Foreign Office. Australia began to establish its first overseas missions (outside London) in 1940, beginning with Washington, D.C., and now has a network of over 80 diplomatic (and 22 trade) posts.[5]

The Department of External Affairs was renamed the Department of Foreign Affairs in 1970. On 24 July 1987, the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Department of Trade were amalgamated by the Hawke Labor Government to form the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT).

In 2005, DFAT became embroiled in the Oil-for-Food Programme scandal after it was revealed it had approved the Australian Wheat Board's (AWB) request allowing it to pay 'trucking charges' to Alia, a Jordanian trucking company with no actual involvement in the trucking of Australian wheat within Iraq. The Cole Inquiry into the AWB was established, however its terms of reference excluded any investigation of the role of DFAT.

Portfolio responsibilities[edit]

The functions of the department are broadly classified into the following matters as laid out in an Administrative Arrangements Order issued on 18 September 2013:[7]

  • External Affairs, including:
    • relations and communications with overseas governments and United Nations agencies
    • treaties, including trade agreements
    • bilateral, regional and multilateral trade policy
    • international trade and commodity negotiations
    • market development, including market access
    • trade and international business development
    • investment promotion
    • international development co-operation
    • diplomatic and consular missions
    • international security issues, including disarmament, arms control and nuclear non-proliferation
    • public diplomacy, including information and cultural programs
  • International expositions
  • Provision to Australian citizens of secure travel identification
  • Provision of consular services to Australian citizens abroad
  • Overseas property management, including acquisition, ownership and disposal of real property
  • Tourism industry (international)
  • International development and aid
  • Development and co-ordination of international climate change policy
  • International climate change negotiations

Secretary of the Department[edit]

DFAT is administered by a senior executive, comprising a secretary and five deputy secretaries. On the recommendation of the Prime Minister, the Governor-General has appointed the following individuals as Secretary to the department:

Order Official Date appointment
commenced
Date appointment
ceased
Term in office Ref(s)
1 Stuart Harris AO 23 July 1987 (1987-07-23) 3 July 1988 (1988-07-03) 346 days [8][9]
2 Richard Woolcott AC 1 September 1988 (1988-09-01) 15 February 1992 (1992-02-15) 3 years, 167 days [9][10]
3 Peter Wilenski AC 15 February 1992 (1992-02-15) 14 May 1993 (1993-05-14) 1 year, 88 days [10][11]
4 Michael Costello AO 27 May 1993 (1993-05-27) 8 March 1996 (1996-03-08) 2 years, 286 days [12][13]
5 Philip Flood AO 8 March 1996 (1996-03-08) 31 March 1998 (1998-03-31) 2 years, 23 days [13]
6 Ashton Calvert AC 1 April 1998 (1998-04-01) 4 January 2005 (2005-01-04) 6 years, 278 days [14]
7 Michael L'Estrange AO 24 January 2005 (2005-01-24) 13 August 2009 (2009-08-13) 4 years, 201 days [14][15]
8 Dennis Richardson AO 13 August 2009 (2009-08-13) 18 October 2012 (2012-10-18) 3 years, 66 days [15][16]
9 Peter Varghese AO 18 October 2012 (2012-10-18) 22 July 2016 (2016-07-22) 3 years, 278 days [17][16]
9 Frances Adamson 22 July 2016 (2016-07-22) incumbent 2 years, 117 days [18][19][20][21]

Structure[edit]

The department is responsible to the Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, the Minister for International Development and the Pacific, and the Assistant Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment.

The department has around 3,300 employees, of whom 1,300 are foreign staff employed by missions directly, and 1,500 are Australian employees based in Australia, and some 500 are diplomats serving overseas.

Departmental structure[edit]

  • Office of the Secretary
    • Internal Audit Branch
    • Strategic Policy, Contestability and Futures Branch
    • Executive Branch
  • Global Cooperation, Development and Partnerships Group
    • Multilateral Policy Division
    • Development Policy Division
    • Multilateral Development and Finance Division
    • Public Diplomacy, Communications & Scholarships Division
    • Centre for Health Security
    • Office of Development Effectiveness
    • Innovation Xchange
    • Office of the Ambassador for the Environment
  • International Security, Humanitarian and Consular Group
    • International Security Division
    • Consular and Crisis Management Division
    • Humanitarian, NGOs and Partnerships Division
    • Legal Division
    • Middle East and Africa Division
    • Australian Safeguards and Non-proliferation Office
    • Office of the Ambassador for Cyber Affairs
  • Indo-Pacific Group
    • South-East Asia Division
    • North Asia Division
    • Pacific Division
    • US and Indo-Pacific Strategy Division
    • South-West Asia Division
  • Trade, Investment and Business Engagement Group
    • Office of Trade Negotiations
    • Investment and Economic Division
    • Free Trade Agreement Division
    • Europe and Latin America Division
  • Services Delivery Group
    • People Branches
    • Diplomatic Academy
    • Finance Branches
    • Security Branches
    • Information Management and Technology Division
    • Australian Passport Office
    • Overseas Property Office
    • Protocol Branch
    • Contracting and Aid Management Division

Diplomatic network[edit]

The department maintains offices in each state and mainland territory to provide consular and passport services, and to perform an important liaison service for business throughout Australia. In addition, it has a Torres Strait Treaty Liaison Office on Thursday Island. Additionally, the department manages a network of over 90 overseas posts, including Australian embassies, high commissions, consulates-general and consulates.

Portfolio agencies[edit]

DFAT also manages several agencies within its portfolio, including:

DFAT also manages foundations, councils and institutes including:[22]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ CA 5987: Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Central Office, National Archives of Australia, retrieved 27 December 2013
  2. ^ Australian Public Service Commission (2014), Main features:APS at a glance, archived from the original on 5 October 2014
  3. ^ "Frances Adamson - Biographical details". Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Commonwealth of Australia. 3 December 2012. Retrieved 28 October 2013.
  4. ^ "Full list of Scott Morrison's new ministry". SBS News. Retrieved 2018-09-17.
  5. ^ a b c "History of the Department". Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Retrieved 2007-08-08.
  6. ^ Parliamentary Handbook of the Commonwealth of Australia, 20th ed, 1978, pp. 289-290
  7. ^ "Administrative Arrangements Order" (PDF). Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. Commonwealth of Australia. 18 September 2013. Archived from the original (PDF) on 14 October 2013. Retrieved 27 October 2013.
  8. ^ Hawke, Bob (23 July 1987). "For the media". Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (Press release). Commonwealth of Australia. Archived from the original on 10 November 2013. Retrieved 10 November 2013.
  9. ^ a b Hawke, Bob (2 June 1988). "For the media". Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (Press release). Commonwealth of Australia. Archived from the original on 10 November 2013. Retrieved 10 November 2013.
  10. ^ a b Hawke, Bob (8 November 1991). "For the media". Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (Press release). Commonwealth of Australia. Retrieved 10 November 2013.
  11. ^ Keating, Paul (14 May 1993). "Dr Peter Wilenski AO". Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (Press release). Commonwealth of Australia. Retrieved 10 November 2013.
  12. ^ Keating, Paul (26 May 1993). "Appointment of Departmental Secretaries". Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (Press release). Commonwealth of Australia. Archived from the original on 10 November 2013. Retrieved 10 November 2013.
  13. ^ a b Howard, John (8 March 1996). "Statement by the Prime Minister designate, The Hon John Howard MP". Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (Press release). Commonwealth of Australia. Archived from the original on 10 November 2013. Retrieved 10 November 2013.
  14. ^ a b Howard, John (2 December 2004). "Dr Ashton Calvert AC". Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (Press release). Commonwealth of Australia. Archived from the original on 10 November 2013. Retrieved 10 November 2013.
  15. ^ a b Rudd, Kevin (13 August 2009). "Departmental secretaries and statutory office-holders, Canberra". Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (Press release). Commonwealth of Australia. Archived from the original on 10 November 2013. Retrieved 10 November 2013.
  16. ^ a b Gillard, Julia (17 September 2012). "Diplomatic Appointment and Appointment of Secretaries of the Department of Defence and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade". Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (Press release). Commonwealth of Australia. Archived from the original on 20 December 2014. Retrieved 27 October 2013.
  17. ^ "Mr Peter N Varghese AO - Biographical details". Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Commonwealth of Australia. 3 December 2012. Retrieved 28 October 2013.
  18. ^ Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (2016), Biography of Ms Frances Adamson, Australian Government, archived from the original on 17 August 2016
  19. ^ Doran, Matthew (20 July 2016). "Frances Adamson appointed as DFAT's first female secretary". ABC News. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Archived from the original on 5 August 2016.
  20. ^ Mannheim, Markus (20 July 2016). "Frances Adamson becomes Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade's first female secretary". The Canberra Times. Fairfax Media. Archived from the original on 17 August 2016.
  21. ^ Turnbull, Malcolm (20 July 2016). "Ms Frances Adamson appointed Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade" (Press release). Australian Government. Retrieved 18 August 2016.
  22. ^ "Foundations, councils and institutes - Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade". Dfat.gov.au. Retrieved 2018-10-17.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 35°18′36″S 149°07′50″E / 35.3100°S 149.1305°E / -35.3100; 149.1305