Date of this Version


Document Type

Journal Article




For a county with a small population, a remote location and an awkward colonial past, Australia has a remarkable record of success in international sport, so much so that sport is often considered a ‘religion’ in the ‘Lucky Country’. If diplomacy is the business of representation, it would be expected that sport features prominently in Australia’s diplomacy. However, sport oddly languishes under the banner of Public Diplomacy (PD) and is overseen by an unloved, under-resourced and under-represented Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT). To exploit the type of vertical, horizontal and plural channels and networks diplomacy can offer in the 21st century, DFAT must remove sport from under the PD banner. Sports diplomacy must be funded by DFAT appropriately and developed to truly represent the place of sport in Australia’s history, culture and society.