‘For a Few Dollars More’: DFAT identifies priority posts

Parliament house flag post

‘For a Few Dollars More’: DFAT identifies priority posts

Posted 17/05/2012 by Cameron Hill

A recent submission by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) to a Parliamentary inquiry into Australia’s overseas representation identifies its priorities for new posts should the Government provide additional funding.

These priorities were identified in response to a Question on Notice from Mr Michael Danby MP, Chair of the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade and an ex-officio member of the Foreign Affairs sub-committee undertaking the inquiry. Under the three funding options put by Mr Danby, DFAT nominated the following priorities for new posts:

  • ‘Low option’ ($25 million a year added to the DFAT budget): Astana (Kazakhstan), Ulaanbatar (Mongolia), Dakar (Senegal), Phuket (Thailand) and Funafuti (Tuvalu).
  • ‘Medium option’ ($50 million a year added to the DFAT budget): all the above plus Algiers (Algeria), Luanda (Angola), Chongqing (China), Bogota (Colombia), and Dar es Salaam (Tanzania).
  • ‘High option’ ($75 million a year added to the DFAT budget): all the above plus Rabat (Morocco), Oslo (Norway), and Bern (Switzerland).

No justification for these priorities or their ranking is provided in the submission.

DFAT’s submission also identifies the specific number of new staff positions at existing posts that could be funded under each option, focusing on G-20 and consular posts as priorities.

Provision for the new embassy in Dakar was announced in the 2012­­­­­­–13 Budget, in addition to a new consulate-general in Chengdu, western China, previously announced in March 2012. $52.6 million over five years has been allocated to establish these two new posts and strengthen existing missions.

The Government also announced in the Budget that it will provide $95.7 million over two years to DFAT to sustain diplomatic and civilian aspects of Australia's whole-of-government engagement in Afghanistan. A further $72.2 million will be invested over two years to continue civilian security arrangements for the Baghdad Embassy.

Commentary in the wake of the 2012–13 Budget notes that DFAT seems to be enjoying a modest funding turn-around. What this commentary also points out, however, is that funding decisions over the last two and a half decades have resulted in a one third reduction in the size of Australia’s overseas presence. A 2011 report prepared by the Lowy Institute compared the number of Australia’s diplomatic missions with that of its peers and found that Australia ranks 25th out of 34 OECD members, behind countries including the Czech Republic and Belgium.

DFAT are obviously keen to show the Government that they have a clear plan for using a few dollars more should its budget fortunes continue to improve.


  • 21/01/2014 3:30 PM
    Martin Buttefield said:

    I wonder how the rankings in the chart would change if presented in terms of missions per capita or number of diplomats per capita?

  • 21/01/2014 3:30 PM
    Anonymous said:

    Looking at that chart there is no way the majority of the countries ranked above Australia in number of missions would have bigger foreign affairs budgets than us, in fact you'd think many would have less than half of ours. It makes me think we're inefficient, I mean even Greece is beating us!

Thank you for your comment. If it does not require moderation, it will appear shortly.
Facebook LinkedIn Twitter Add | Email Print


Flagpost is a blog on current issues of interest to members of the Australian Parliament

Parliamentary Library Logo showing Information Analysis & Advice




refugees asylum immigration Australian foreign policy Parliament climate change elections women social security Indigenous Australians Australian Bureau of Statistics Employment Sport illicit drugs people trafficking taxation Medicare welfare reform Australian Defence Force higher education welfare policy United Nations Asia income management Middle East criminal law disability Australian Sports Anti-Doping Agency World Anti-Doping Agency United States federal budget health financing gambling school education forced labour aid statistics Australian Electoral Commission WADA emissions trading Australia in the Asian Century steroids detention Private health insurance OECD ASADA labour force transport Law Enforcement Australian Federal Police Industrial Relations people smuggling dental health National Disability Insurance Scheme Australian Crime Commission slavery Senate election results Papua New Guinea Australian Public Service International Women's Day corruption Afghanistan Fair Work Act child protection debt federal election 2013 parliamentary procedure poker machines ALP New Zealand Newstart Parenting Payment 43rd Parliament political parties Census constitution High Court skilled migration voting Federal Court terrorist groups Higher Education Loan Program HECS youth paid parental leave Aviation environment foreign debt gross debt net debt defence capability customs doping health crime health risks multiculturalism aged care Gonski Review of Funding for Schooling sex slavery sea farers Special Rapporteur leadership United Kingdom UK Parliament Electoral reform politics banking firearms public policy violence against women domestic violence mental health China ADRV terrorism social media pensions welfare ASIO intelligence community Australian Security Intelligence Organisation governance public service reform Carbon Pricing Mechanism carbon tax mining military history employer employee fishing by-election European Union same sex relationships international relations coal seam gas family assistance planning United Nations Security Council Australian economy food vocational education and training Drugs Indonesia children codes of conduct terrorist financing money laundering Productivity asylum seekers early childhood education Canada Population Financial sector national security fuel disability employment Tasmania integrity science research and development Australian Secret Intelligence Service sexual abuse federal state relations World Trade Organization Australia accountability housing affordability bulk billing water renewable energy children's health health policy Governor-General US economy export liquefied natural gas foreign bribery question time speaker superannuation expertise Senators and Members climate Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Department of Agriculture Fisheries and Forestry food labelling Pacific Islands reserved seats new psychoactive substances synthetic drugs UNODC carbon markets health reform Indigenous constitutional recognition of local government local government consumer laws PISA royal commission US politics language education baby bonus Leaders of the Opposition Parliamentary remuneration health system Australia Greens servitude Trafficking Protocol energy forced marriage rural and regional Northern Territory Emergency Response ministries social citizenship human rights citizenship Defence High Court; Indigenous; Indigenous Australians; Native Title ACT Indigenous education Norfolk Island External Territories emissions reduction fund; climate change child care funding refugees immigration asylum procurement Indigenous health e-voting internet voting nsw state elections 44th Parliament 2015 ABS Age Pension Death penalty capital punishment execution Bali nine Bali bombings Trade EU China soft power education Fiji India Disability Support Pension Antarctica Diplomacy by-elections state and territories workers Bills anti-corruption fraud bribery transparency corporate ownership whistleblower G20 economic reform innovation standards NATO Members of Parliament Scottish referendum Middle East; national security; terrorism social services Criminal Code Amendment (Misrepresentation of Age to a Minor) Bill 2013 online grooming sexual assault of minors ACT Assembly public health smoking plain packaging tobacco cigarettes Asia; Japan; international relations Work Health and Safety Migration; asylum seekers; regional processing China; United States; international relations fiscal policy Racial Discrimination Act; social policy; human rights; indigenous Australians Foreign policy Southeast Asia Israel Palestine regional unemployment asylum refugees immigration political finance donations foreign aid Economics efficiency human rights; Racial Discrimination Act employment law bullying Animal law; food copyright Australian Law Reform Commission industry peace keeping contracts workplace policies trade unions same-sex marriage disorderly conduct retirement Parliament House standing orders public housing prime ministers election timetable sitting days First speech defence budget submarines Somalia GDP forestry world heritage political engagement leave loading Trade; tariffs; safeguards; Anti-dumping public interest disclosure whistleblowing Productivity Commission regulation limitation period universities Ireland cancer gene patents genetic testing suspension of standing and sessional orders animal health live exports welfare systems infant mortality middle class welfare honorary citizen railways disciplinary tribunals standard of proof World Health Organisation arts international students skilled graduate visas temporary employment visas apologies roads Italy national heritage NHMRC nutrition anti-dumping Constitutional reform referendum Rent Assistance competition policy pharmaceutical benefits scheme obesity evidence law sacrament of confession US presidential election international days DFAT UN General Assembly deregulation Regulation Impact Statements administrative law small business Breaker Morant homelessness regional engagement social determinants of health abortion Youth Allowance Members suspension citizen engagement policymaking federal election 2010 workplace health and safety Trafficking in Persons Report marine reserves hearing TAFE Victoria astronomy resources sector YMCA youth parliament alcohol Korea rebate Australian Greens presidential nomination Racial Discrimination Act entitlements political parties preselection solar hot water Financial Action Taskforce Horn of Africa peacekeeping piracy Great Barrier Reef Stronger futures political financing Hung Parliament political education social inclusion Social Inclusion Board maritime early childhood National Quality Framework for Early Childhood Education and Care Murray-Darling Basin Iran sanctions Norway hospitals

Show all
Show less
Back to top