Australian diplomacy today
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Peter Varghese AO, Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), refers to diplomacy as ‘the compass by which Australia makes its way in the world’. Its core task – to advance the nation’s security and prosperity – remains unchanged across decades. One might assume from this metaphorical treatment by Australia’s chief diplomat that Australian diplomacy holds to a fairly steady and clearly defined course. Yet, the reality is that Australian diplomacy is in a state of flux, responding and adapting to constant shifts today’s interconnected global landscape. At every level of analysis, the demands on Australia’s diplomats are growing in intensity, complexity and urgency. Aspirations for the nation’s diplomatic performance are high in all contexts – global and regional, multilateral and bilateral – and Australia’s interests and activities span the breadth of high to low politics. At the same time, the rising expectations of public audiences at home and abroad have brought new pressures, modes of engagement and unconventional actors to the fore.
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