Chapter 3 Activities at overseas posts
In this Chapter, the Committee discusses the activity of Australia’s
overseas diplomatic posts. The Chapter is in two parts. The first is a review
of the activities which posts must undertake—Term of Reference One.
In the second part, the Committee considers the ability of posts to
efficiently and effectively meet their responsibilities. This includes
discussion of staffing levels at DFAT—Terms of Reference Three.
The use of information and communications technology and opportunities
presented by the development of new technologies and communication
platforms—Terms of Reference Four—is discussed in Chapter Four.
Framework for managing overseas posts
Prime Minister’s Directive
The management of Australia’s overseas diplomatic posts is underpinned
by the Prime Minister’s Directive: Guidelines for Management of the
Australian Government Presence Overseas (the Guidelines). DFAT told the
Committee that the Guidelines were created in the 1970s and 1980s and that
successive Prime Ministers had re-issued them.
The Guidelines had the ‘core expectation that [Australian Public
Service] agencies work together productively on issues that cross traditional
agency boundaries.’ It applied to:
… all activities undertaken overseas by diplomatically
accredited and non-accredited staff, staff not covered by the Public Service
Act 1999, staff deployed under various international and bilateral
agreements, and official delegations.
The Guidelines stipulate that the management of each overseas post was ‘vested
in one agency … the “managing agency”, under the overall authority of the
HOM/HOP [Head of Mission/Head of Post].’ The managing agency was usually DFAT,
but other agencies could be the manager where DFAT was not present and the
Foreign Minister agreed. This provides the
authority for Austrade to be the managing agency for its 13 consular posts.
To put into effect its cooperative arrangements, DFAT has service level
agreements with ‘30 government departments, agencies and federally-funded
bodies with overseas representation—and, on certain occasions, to the New
Zealand Government.’ The agreements underscore the provision of management
services on a cost recovery basis.
AusAID advised that its service level agreement with DFAT was:
… negotiated on an annual basis and details key performance
indicators to ensure AusAID and DFAT have a common understanding of the services
to be delivered. AusAID and DFAT meet regularly, both in Canberra and at post,
to monitor and discuss the operation of the [agreement] and the delivery of
DFAT also provides information and communications technology (ICT)
services to ‘40 agencies in Australia and overseas’ under separate memorandums
of understanding, and to an additional four agencies under a cost recovery
arrangement. Payroll services are also provided to 15 agencies overseas.
The HOM/HOP is the Australian Government’s senior representative with ‘ultimate
responsibility for the conduct of relations in the country/ies of
Customs told the Committee that this had not always been the case:
That is certainly quite different from the circumstance that
I was familiar with when I first joined the Defence Department a quarter of a
century ago. … Agencies had a very strong sense of connection back to their
home agency and it was really only by personal relationships, grace and favour
that in some cases ambassadors would find themselves graced by being advised of
things. … That has been fundamentally changed over the last 10 to 15 years by
the formal recognition of the standing authority of the head of mission and, in
some cases by delegation, the deputy head of mission.
Australian government agencies who are not the managing agency can determine
the profile of their A-based staff present at the post, but this has to be in
consultation with the managing agency. The HOP/HOM and the managing agency are:
… responsible for the deployment and withdrawal of A-based
staff, the work undertaken by A-based employees and the impact of A-based
employees’ work and travel on the conduct of Australia’s bilateral, regional or
DFAT commented that in practice, departments wishing to change their
overseas staffing profile sought its agreement because DFAT provided services
at the post, there were accommodation considerations, and DFAT ‘might have
policy issues in terms of different people from different departments and
agencies.’ DFAT added that it always sought to be cooperative, but it would ‘raise
more questions’ if departments were withdrawing staff.
The managing agency is also the legal employer of locally engaged staff
(LES) on behalf of all Australian Government agencies, although separate
provisions apply to AusAID and Austrade who are responsible for their own LES
The Guidelines add that where the managing agency is the legal employer
… it will be responsible for the appointment, termination,
setting of salary and conditions of service for LES, in accordance with
contemporary Commonwealth management principles, local labour and other
relevant laws and good employer practice. Agencies are responsible for all
costs associated with their LES establishment.
DFAT told the Committee that it applied the labour laws of the local
country which varied considerably around the world, but in any event its
employment conditions were competitive compared to those provided by the
diplomatic missions of other countries.
The managing agency is also responsible for security and for ‘coordinating
business continuity and contingency planning’. Where other agencies at the post
had their own business continuity plans they had to be consistent with, and
stored alongside, the post’s plans.
The Guidelines also empower the HOM/HOP to require all staff to ‘undertake
additional functions that are part of the regular activities of the mission
which are outside their normal area of work.’ The agreement of the staff’s
parent agency is needed if additional duties are to be on a long-term basis.
Witnesses told the Committee that in times of overseas emergencies,
posts adopted a whole of government response—it was ‘all hands on deck’.
There is always the potential for disjointed management and coordination
at Australia’s diplomatic posts. As the Australian Industry Group (AIG)
commented, the main agencies with staff at posts—DFAT, Austrade and AusAID—have
… the DFAT people have their political perspectives and
Austrade have their commercial perspectives, and what that commercial
perspective is is always the subject of question and dispute. … The AusAID
people are doing God’s work, as AusAID do. There are often not the linkages
between the three. … So you have all these competing objectives and suspicions
about what the others are up to, and that comes across quite often in places;
they are not talking to each other.
Members of the Committee have observed at first hand the working
relationship of staff at a significant number of overseas diplomatic posts
during delegation visits. Organisation at posts is underpinned by a robust
framework that will always be influenced by the personalities involved and the
leadership qualities of the head of the post.
Notwithstanding the AIG’s criticisms, the Committee is confident, from
its own observations and the fact that there is a formal management framework, that
Australia’s diplomatic posts are well-managed and their activities well
This will be an advantage when posts have to respond at very short
notice to international crises and natural disasters.
Activities of overseas posts
There follows a snapshot of the activities undertaken at Australia’s
overseas posts. It is not intended to be a definitive list, but instead reflects
the evidence presented to the Committee.
Activities undertaken by staff at Australia’s posts can be grouped into
the following categories:
- representation and
- promoting trade and investment;
- managing assistance
- managing immigration;
- assisting Australians
The proportion of work devoted to particular categories will vary from
day to day and from post to post. All activities, however, will create a
picture of the host nation whether it be the trade, political, or societal
environments. The post conveys this picture to the Australian Government to be
used to inform the position of the Government and subsequent representational activities
of the post.
Representation and liaison
An important role of Australia’s overseas representatives is to convey
Australian views to the host government. The value of face-to-face contact by Australian
diplomats has been discussed in Chapter 2, but the overseas staff of other
departments also undertake advocacy on behalf of Australia.
Examples provided to the Committee included:
representatives at the medium and larger posts who undertake ‘advocacy and
dialogue with host governments’.
- DIAC and officials ‘representing
and advocating the Australian Government’s immigration and citizenship policies’.
- Department of
Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) counsellors who seek to ‘improve the
rules of trade and the trading environment … through negotiation in
multilateral and bilateral government to government forums as well as through
policy advocacy with host governments’. A supplementary
submission also detailed market access achievements for Australian exporters.
- Department of
Innovation, Industry, Science, Research and Tertiary Education (DIISRTE)
education counsellors who engage in ‘confidence building cooperation strategies
with government representatives and other major stakeholders, such as major
educational associations, peak groups and alumni organisations’.
An example was the creation in India of the Bureau of Vocational Education and
Training Collaboration which brought together Australian State TAFE
organisations and their Indian counterparts.
- Department of
Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR) Education Counsellors who
support ‘government to government relationships through Joint Working Groups,
Memoranda of Understanding and high level delegations’.
- Department of
Resources, Energy and Tourism (DRET) which relies on posts to ‘lobby other
governments … on key issues …that potentially affect Australia’s resources,
energy and tourism sectors’.
Representation and advocacy activities are strengthened by visits of
Australian Government ministers and parliamentary delegations. Such visits are
regarded by DFAT as ‘the lifeblood of a relationship.’
Examples provided to the Committee were:
- a visit by the
Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry to the Middle East which
relied heavily on the DFAT network; and
- DRET which ‘make
significant use of Australia’s existing overseas representation to support
ministerial and senior official-level visits.’
Australian officials also represent Australia at multilateral
organisations and meetings. Examples include:
- AusAID officers in
New York, Geneva and Washington working with World Bank and UN agencies;
- DAFF representing
Australia at the World Organisation for Animal Health, participating in its
Regional Animal Welfare Strategy,and working with the EU
on a range of standards, including environmental standards and animal welfare
- DEEWR’s involvement
with the OECD Education Directorate and the Directorate for Employment, Labour
and Social Affairs, and representing Australia at the International Labour
Organisation and at UN committee meetings; and
- Customs officers
posted to Brussels, Washington and Beijing working on border issues such as
maritime surveillance, and revenue collection.
Australian representatives also liaise with their counterparts in the
defence and law enforcement areas. Examples provided to the Committee included:
- 94 Defence Attachés
and advisers in 29 countries, promoting defence
policies and liaising with their counterparts on a range of issues;
- AFP advisers in
Southeast Asian countries, London and Washington liaising in the areas of
people smuggling, cyber crime, transnational crime, and counterterrorism;
- DIAC officials
identifying and reporting on people smugglers and irregular people movements;
- Customs officers
coordinating and ensuring that the targets selected for disruption were in fact
being targeted, and also engaging in ‘strategic communications and market
research in relation to maritime people smuggling.’
Trade and investment promotion
Austrade and DFAT
Austrade’s core functions include the promotion of trade, investment and
Australian education overseas. Austrade also administers the annual $150
million Export Market Development Grants scheme.
Austrade told the Committee that DFAT and Austrade served different
aspects of the trade and investment market:
… DFAT, for example, will pick up major resource companies
and major banks whose interests and concerns tend to be high-level economic and
often political issues, whereas [small and medium enterprises] and medium sized
businesses who are looking for a distributor or advice on how to go about
selling their product or how to attract investment, will often come to Austrade
… it works very well when you have DFAT and Austrade at the same location.
Austrade explained that it sought to position posts in markets where
there was ‘difficulty in doing business as a result of culture, language or
opaque regulatory process; in other words, the more difficult markets.’ An
example was China where nearly 50 per cent of the 5000 Australian merchandise
exporters used Austrade services. There were similar figures of assistance for
India and for Japan.
Austrade would also target emerging economies such as Columbia where
there was ‘strong actual potential growth prospects,’
and markets where barriers to trade were decreasing.
Relations with Australian business
Austrade told the Committee that Australian businesses sought practical
advice on ‘what sort of distribution policy approach they should take, who they
should be seeking to target as consumers and what the competition was.’
The AIG provided more information—businesses were looking for:
… local market information, contacts on regulatory issues,
particularly local politics and economics, and information about how to gain
approvals. … The bigger posts can do that to some extent, but the more regional
posts are overall better at doing that, and those that are linked in with
Austrade are particularly beneficial.
Businesses and business groups generally indicated they were happy with
the efforts of DFAT and Austrade.
The ANZ Bank commented that DFAT had a good understanding of the need to
tailor lobbying strategies for different countries:
The process of lobbying in Malaysia would be different from
the process of lobbying in India. I have found DFAT to be able to do more than
understand; they actually set out individual strategies for individual markets
to do that lobbying. Sometimes you have to be very patient.
The Bank advised it had taken some two and half years for it to obtain
its Indian banking licence. DFAT assistance was vital:
… we would not have got that licence without both the
ambassadors—the current ambassador and the predecessor—actively pursuing in
very difficult circumstances of multiple tiered relationships. They were a huge
help. I personally did probably 12 visits over a two-year span. I think the
ambassadors did probably twice-that-plus to help. They were tenacious and value
The Commonwealth Bank also provided positive comments:
DFAT’s facilitation of networks with key Indonesian
government representatives has been invaluable. The ambassador and his team
also make themselves available where practicable to support our business growth
… the activities that the Australian Embassy in Indonesia undertakes have been
very positive from the group’s experience.
The Australia Gulf Council (AGC) told the Committee that it worked well
with DFAT and Austrade, who were both happy to step back when they reached
their boundaries. The AGC added that ‘the more effective dovetailing between,
say, Austrade and organisations like ours can offer an efficiency in itself.’
The AAMIG, on the other hand, commented that there should be an increase
in Austrade’s representation in Africa. While the involvement of Austrade’s
sole South African representative at the Indaba mining conference had been ‘hugely
successful’, increasing Austrade numbers in Africa would achieve a greater
impact than adding to the already significant numbers of Austrade staff in
Witnesses told the Committee that often the lack of interest in a
particular overseas market was not the fault of DFAT or Austrade, but instead
was a boardroom issue. The AIG commented that corporate Australia and DFAT:
… operate in parallel universes in some ways. They have
different core objectives. Business decisions are directed from the boardroom,
but then as you go down and actually implement them they are done on the
ground, and that is where those linkages are really important to find contacts
and to get started. …
Companies make their own decisions too about how much linkage
they want to have with the posts and embassies. Sometimes some companies are
not very good at doing that; others are.
A similar view was expressed by the ANZ Bank:
The issue of expanding into Asia is more to do with
Australian corporations’ strategy, their boldness and their understanding of
what opportunities are required, not only for growth but maybe for survival. …
I think we are missing opportunities, but it is a boardroom
issue, not a DFAT issue.
Coordination with State and Territory Government agencies
DFAT and Austrade are not the only government agencies promoting
Australian trade and investment overseas. States too, have overseas offices
thereby creating potential competition with Commonwealth efforts.
Austrade was not concerned:
… we work pretty well as team Australia rather than in
competition. Nowadays, for the most part, we are able to establish quite good
relationships with the states. Some of them actually operate in our offices,
inside the office. You get more concerned by the states on investment issues
because they are worried that a lead might go to one state over another state
and that might lead to an investment in that state, but we have protocols in
place for handling that … I am fairly relaxed about having states involved.
DFAT also appeared unconcerned, commenting that there were no criticisms
in the department about the states and the Commonwealth getting in each other’s
way or acting in competition. On the other hand, in London where the states had
‘a bigger sense of self’ there might have been issues ‘from time to time’.
A similar mixed response was provided by the AIG witness who had been a
former Australian diplomat in the US:
I have good examples of the states working well with the
Commonwealth and examples of states going off to do their own thing and
competing against each other and against the Commonwealth to attract business,
which is just infuriating in many cases. But the states have worked well with
the Commonwealth, and there is my own example of Los Angeles, where we were
able to drive some really good outcomes because we were a unity ticket. … The
states are competing purely in their own interests all the time. They will take
a very hard-headed, parochial view.
The AGC presented a pragmatic view—that state governments would not
accept that they should not have an international presence. It would not be ‘fair’
or ‘prudent to expect that’. The AGC suggested, however, that there were
efficiencies to be gained because in a major commercial market it was not sensible
for there to be Commonwealth government representation and state representation
in standalone premises. There was ‘the opportunity to effectively work
alongside Austrade, particularly with respect to back office capacity, sharing
premises and so on’. It was a ‘perfect agenda item for COAG [the Council of
The Committee considers that Australia has adopted an effective model
for promoting trade and investment with DFAT and Austrade acting in partnership
in their overseas activities. In this regard, the Committee notes Austrade’s
comment that other countries often seek advice about Austrade’s processes for
promoting trade and investment.
In its Africa report, the Committee noted that, with about 30 per cent
of the total mineral resources of the world, Africa is enjoying a resources
boom. This will translate into increased wealth and spending power for the
continent which in Sub-Saharan Africa has a population in excess of 870 million
people. This presents significant opportunities for Australia.
The Committee notes Austrade’s advice that it targets countries where
there are ‘strong actual potential growth prospects’, and considers that the
countries of Africa qualify for Austrade’s attention. Consequently, the
Committee agrees with AAMIG’s call for Austrade’s presence in Sub-Saharan
Africa to be increased, and reiterates its
recommendation in the Africa report.
The Government agreed with the Committees recommendation that ‘the
Government should increase the number of Austrade offices and personnel that
are based in Sub-Saharan Africa’ and advised:
The government recognises that emerging markets across Africa
offer growing prospects for Australian businesses. As part of the reform,
Austrade will strengthen its presence in Sub Saharan Africa as resources become
The Committee, however, has yet to see the outcome of its recommendation
to which the Government agreed.
The Committee reiterates its recommendation in its report of
its Inquiry into Australia’s Relationship with the Countries of Africa that
the Government should increase the number of Austrade offices and personnel
that are based in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Whether to enter an overseas market is a strategic decision made at the managerial
and boardroom levels of business. It is unreasonable to expect DFAT and
Austrade to be successful in promoting a particular overseas market if business
is unaware of the potential or is focused elsewhere.
Evidence from the AIG and the ANZ Bank indicates that, notwithstanding
any current activity undertaken by DFAT and Austrade, there is room for both
agencies to improve their effectiveness in promoting overseas trade
opportunities to the higher levels of businesses.
The Committee is aware that representatives of other countries do
promote the benefits of trade with their countries to Australian businesses,
but the Committee considers that DFAT and Austrade should seek ways to broaden
their contacts with Australian business boardrooms to further promote the
opportunities of overseas trade.
The Committee, noting the valuable activities of the
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and Austrade in promoting overseas
trading opportunities, recommends that these agencies broaden their contacts
with Australian business boardrooms to deepen understanding of how the
Department and Austrade can assist in facilitating their overseas activities.
While there appear to be few conflicts between Commonwealth and State
trade and investment promoting bodies, the Committee sees opportunity for
greater cooperation with consequent savings. Co-locating offices and sharing
back office capacity would seem to provide a significant benefit. The Committee
agrees with the AGC that such cooperation is a ‘perfect agenda item for COAG.’
The Committee recommends that the Australian Government place
on the Council of Australian Governments agenda, discussion of the location,
coordination and effective use of State and Commonwealth trade
representations in the national interest.
Managing assistance programs
AusAID is responsible for managing about 90 per cent of Australia’s aid
program. In 2011–12 the aid budget was some $4.1 billion—0.33 per cent of gross
national income, and is set to rise to
0.05 per cent of gross national income by 2016–17.
In 2009–10 about 40 per cent of the aid program was delivered through
multilateral organisations. AusAID advised that the percentage was expected to
increase as the aid budget grew.
Aid-related work undertaken by AusAID staff at Australia’s overseas
implementation and management of aid program activities (including overseeing
work undertaken on AusAID’s behalf);
- program monitoring,
performance assessment and reporting; …
- managing and
coordinating stake holder relations … ; and
- fraud prevention.
AusAID’s submission provided details of the Indonesian bilateral aid
program and the African regional program.
AusAID commented that the aid program had recently been independently
reviewed which had resulted in a ‘clear strategic policy direction from
government’ and ‘a new aid policy’.
Other Commonwealth agencies
The Committee received evidence of capacity building activities of other
- DAFF staff assisting
the Indonesian Ministry of Agriculture to develop its capacity to respond to
emerging infectious diseases;
- AFP officers being
seconded to non-law enforcement agencies to provide law-enforcement advice and
to support capacity building initiatives;
- Defence Attachés and
advisers managing the Defence Co-Operation Program, involving oversight of
infrastructure and other capacity building projects, in East Timor and Papua
Customs and DIAC also advised that they engaged in capacity building
projects in a number of countries.
A further aspect of providing assistance is the granting of education
scholarships. DIISRTE advised that its overseas councillors helped to promote
the Endeavour Awards, which were part of the Australia Awards.
A discussion of Australia’s scholarship program and whether it provides
a net benefit to overseas countries can be found in the Committee’s report into
Australia’s relationship with African countries.
Response to overseas crises
As noted earlier, from time to time Australia’s overseas diplomatic
posts mount a whole-of-post response during times of overseas crises and
natural disasters. Often the Defence Attaché plays an important role in that
For example, a submission from the Hon Tim Fischer highlighted the work
of Defence Attachés during the change of government crisis in Libya in 2011 and
prior to the arrival of INTERFET in East Timor in 1999.
The role of the Defence Attaché in the response to Cyclone Nargis was
also detailed in a Defence supplementary submission.
Potential to mediate conflicts
Professor John Langmore raised the issue of Australia increasing its involvement
in overseas conflict resolution as a way to facilitate development assistance.
He noted that it was ‘clear to most development experts … that one of the
necessary preconditions to effective development strategy is peaceful conflict
Drawing on the example of Norway, Professor Langmore suggested that
Australia create a mediation support unit:
There is a very close cooperation in Norway between
government and NGOs [non-government organisations] … That has been found to be
very helpful in being able to work at a number of levels. They often link their
mediation work with development work. The peace and reconciliation unit in the
Ministry of Foreign Affairs has a budget of about $100 million a year for
development programs. In countries such as Burundi, for example, they have been
significant in constraining what could have become another Rwanda.
Under the proposal, Australia would create a unit comprising three or
four staff based in Australia who would be deployed when they became involved
in a particular mediation issue. They would coordinate with countries and
organisations engaged in similar work, such as the UN’s mediation support unit
and several ‘very high quality international NGOs working on mediation and
peaceful conflict resolution, based in Geneva or London’ such as the
International Crisis Group.
In a letter to the then Foreign Affairs Minister, the Hon Kevin Rudd MP,
it was suggested that the mediation unit would enable AusAID and Australia:
- to establish capacity
to provide good offices and mediation, providing knowledge and resources to
mediation efforts and engaging with conflicts as both a mediator and a
- to offer financial
assistance to organisations already working in the mediation field; and
- to become a regional
leader in mediation and conflict prevention in South East Asia and
Pacific—regions where mediation was poorly resourced.
The Committee considers that there is merit in Australia creating a
mediation unit leveraging its provision of aid in particular to the South East
Asia and Pacific regions. Preventing conflict through timely mediation reduces
the potential need for aid and rebuilding assistance. The Committee believes a
mediation unit should be funded from the aid budget because of this link.
The Committee recommends that the Minister for Foreign
Affairs should create a mediation unit within AusAID and funded from the aid
budget. The aim of the unit would be to prevent conflict by providing timely assistance
to mediation efforts, and acting as a mediator and legitimate third-party.
Managing entry into Australia
DIAC is responsible for managing the permanent and temporary entry of
people into Australia. It has a network of 60 overseas locations and employs
128 A-based staff and 1026 locally engaged staff.
Locally engaged staff ‘provide local knowledge and language skills as well as
assistance with visa processing and decision-making’.
In addition, DIAC engages service delivery partners to increase its
footprint. These partners provide basic client information, receive visa
applications and forward them to the relevant DIAC office—they do not make visa
DIAC told the Committee that it was increasing its service delivery
partner network so that it could further expand its footprint in a cost
The Migration Institute of Australia (MIA) criticised the performance of
DIAC on two counts
- the long processing
times for visa applications; and
- the performance of
locally engaged staff—their attitude, inconsistent decisions, and lack of
compliance with the Migration Act.
DIAC provided details of processing times in a supplementary submission.
Figures provided indicate that as at June 2011 there were 5806 offshore visa
applications older than 12 months that were still being processed.,
This compares to DIAC delivering in 2010–11 ‘a migration program of over 168
000 places’ and ‘a humanitarian program of almost 13,800 places that included
8900 visas granted to people outside Australia’.
DIAC advised that delays in visa processing could result from factors
… the need for checks to be completed (eg health and security
checking), demand for visas which exceeds Migration Program planning levels,
delays where DIAC is awaiting additional information requested from the client
or their representative, an unexpected increase in visa applications or a need
for the rebalancing of internal resource allocation.
The issue concerning LES is discussed below.
Using DIAC figures, the Committee calculates that the 5806 visa
applications still awaiting processing after a year at the end of June 2011,
represents 3.2 per cent of the migration and humanitarian program visas in
2010–11. The Committee considers that, nevertheless, DIAC should endeavour to
reduce the backlog further.
Assisting Australians overseas
The Committee received evidence on two forms of assistance provided to
- providing Federal Election
- providing consular
Federal Election services
During Federal Elections all of Australia’s overseas diplomatic posts,
and the Honorary Consulate in Vancouver Canada, provide election services.
A DFAT or Austrade staff member (depending on which agency manages the post)
becomes an Assistant Returning Officer for the conduct of the poll. In
addition, the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) provides an Overseas
Liaison Officer to the posts in London and Hong Kong which ‘traditionally
experience the greatest workload throughout the election period.’
AEC staff provide briefings at DFAT training sessions for staff being
deployed to diplomatic posts in the 6 to 12 months before an anticipated
election. As well, the AEC provides online training and a procedure manual.
The AEC explained the eligibility criteria for Australians to vote
If you are already enrolled you can register as an overseas
elector if you are intending to return to Australia within six years. … [It] is
a matter of declaration by the elector … if you are not enrolled and have been
overseas for less than three years you may still be eligible to enrol if you
are an Australian citizen aged 18 years or older intending to return to
Australia within six years. You cannot enrol for an overseas address. Instead
you must enrol in the electorate you were entitled to before you left
For Australians who are overseas, however, voting is not compulsory.
For the 2010 Federal Election, some 9252 postal vote certificates were sent
out by overseas posts, the greatest number being from the London post (2618)
followed by the post in Los Angeles (1349). 7351 postal votes were received back
by overseas posts (79.6 per cent), but this number does not include postal
votes sent direct to the AEC in Australia.
Overseas posts also issued a total of 63 054 pre-poll votes, the
greatest number being from London (13 423) followed by Hong Kong (7582).
To determine the demand for election services, especially in countries
where Australia did not have diplomatic representation, the Committee sought
information on where postal votes had been sent. The AEC provided figures in a
A total of 17 548 ‘postal vote certificates were sent to an overseas
address from Australia or issued from an overseas post.’ Of these 4301 (24.5
per cent) had not been returned.
Using the figures provided by the AEC in its supplementary submission, the
Committee has estimated the number of postal vote certificates which were sent
to the following countries:
- New Zealand—727;
- Hong Kong—457; and
The countries where it has been suggested that Australia open a diplomatic
post were the destination of very few postal vote certificates—a total of 93.
The cost of overseas voting in the 2010 Federal Election was $1.1
- $800 000 for
packaging, dispatch and return of voting materials;
- $270 000 for
reimbursement of DFAT expenditure; and
- $27 000 for
reimbursement of Austrade expenditure.
The AEC funds the additional expenditure associated with the election
incurred by DFAT and Austrade—staff overtime and the hiring of additional staff
who are employed based on the anticipated demand at the post.
The Committee discusses electronic voting in Chapter 4.
A core responsibility of Australia’s overseas posts is to provide
consular services to Australian travellers and citizens living overseas. These
… assistance with welfare issues and notarial services, ‘whereabouts’
inquiries, arrest or detention matters, deaths, and medical emergencies and
payment of travellers emergency loans to Australians in need.
DFAT told the Committee:
Clearly, any Australian government has a responsibility where
Australians run into difficulties overseas, particularly difficulties arising
from circumstances beyond their own control; for instance, if they get caught
up in a natural disaster or if they get caught up in political upheaval. We
also have an obligation to assist those Australians who run into the bread and
butter problem of losing a passport or having a passport stolen, et cetera.
DFAT added that sometimes Australians travelling overseas had unrealistic
… some people think that when they go offshore the rule of
law does not apply to them while they are offshore. You sometimes receive an
impression from some people that any Australian offshore could not possibly
commit a crime. … you can have Australians who are arrested offshore who are
found guilty and sentenced way beyond what we would consider reasonable. …
clearly where Australians are subject to the death penalty oversees, regardless
of conviction and the like, we pursue that vigorously … Australians going
abroad do need to understand that not all countries have the same legal system
and the same sentencing procedures as we do … 
The Lowy Institute advised that the number of DFAT’s consular cases had ‘risen
by more than 50 per cent over the last five years to over 200 000 cases
annually. By contrast, funding for consular operations has remained almost
static, as has staffing.’
Austrade too had experienced an increase in cases. In 2010–11 it
assisted 129 592 Australians—a rise of almost 60 per cent over the previous five
While the demand for consular services had increased, government funding
for those services had not. Austrade advised that it managed the increased
demand within ‘existing funding by flexible use of staff and other resources.’
The Lowy Institute suggested that consular services should be funded in
an analogous way to the funding for passport services:
… if you get a passport, then you pay a fee and the money
goes into a sort of separate revenue stream. The number of people in DFAT
issuing passports is hence growing in proportion to the number of passports. It
is completely different with consular work. There is no relationship between
the resources and the burgeoning caseload, so I would argue we need a model for
consular that is analogous to the passport one.
It could be a fee, the Lowy Institute commented—fees were placed on
travel for ‘all sorts of different reasons’ and ‘looking after the welfare of
Australians when they are travelling would seem to be a perfectly worthy reason
to charge people’.
DFAT advised it did not ‘consider it appropriate to charge consular
clients for services provided.’
The Lowy Institute also noted that about 20 per cent of Australians
travelling overseas did not have travel insurance. It suggested an alternative
would be to introduce a way to encourage Australians to take out travel
DFAT told the Committee that it actively encouraged Australians to take
out travel insurance and register on the department’s Smart Travel site.
Whether to require travel insurance was a broader policy issue beyond consular
… it would require someone to sit down and work out the
cost-benefit of whether it is more effective for the government to intervene at
the front end and provide some sort of insurance for those people, or whether
it is more effective not to do anything but to provide assistance to those
people who need assistance in some way if the occasion arises.
The Committee considers that meeting the costs of an ever increasing
demand for consular services through existing resources is unsustainable.
Diverting resources to meet consular demands reduces the ability of DFAT and
Austrade to adequately represent Australia overseas.
Provision of consular services should be funded in part from revenue
sources such as increased passport fees or other modest travel levies. If
travel levies are to be the instrument, the Government should review the
feasibility of a tiered levy to take into account those Australians who have
taken out travel insurance or who are unable to obtain travel insurance.
The Committee recommends that the cost of meeting increasing
demand for consular services should be met through a combination of increased
passport fees and a small hypothecated and indexed travel levy.
Ability of overseas posts to undertake their tasks
The first part of this Chapter detailed the nature of the activities
undertaken at Australia’s overseas posts by DFAT and the staff of other
departments. The question arises: how adequate is the level of resources that
are provided to the departments involved in Australia’s overseas
representation, and in particular to DFAT? These resources will largely
translate into the number of staff, both A-based and locally employed staff
Level of staffing and budget
The Lowy Institute, focusing on DFAT, commented that DFAT staffing had
not kept pace with the growth of the public service since the late 1990s:
The size of the Commonwealth public sector has expanded by 61
per cent since 1997–98. Over this period … AusAID nearly doubled in size and
the Department of Defence grew by nearly 40 per cent. The intelligence
community also grew significantly. The Department of the Prime Minister and
Cabinet took on new responsibilities, but its staffing expanded by a massive
650 per cent. By contrast, DFAT staffing has essentially flat lined. Budget
comparisons tell a similar story.
Recent Budget figures show Government funding for DFAT as being:
2010–11, $875.6 million; 2011–12, $824.3 million; and 2012–13, $878.5 million.
The Lowy Institute told the Committee that in the incoming government
brief of September 2010, DFAT had advised it had exhausted ‘opportunities for
re-prioritisation and efficiency gains’ and that it would need additional
funding if it was to meet the ‘challenge of a more complex, diplomatic world’.
The Lowy Institute added:
Since then there has been further demands for efficiency
gains: 1.5 per cent per annum as at June 2011, a further 1.25 per cent from
2013–15 and then 1 percent after that. In November last year that was added to
further, taking the efficiency requirements for the department to sustain
another 4 per cent for the financial year 2012–13. We are talking about another
$40 million to $50 million a year which the department is required to sustain.
Two years ago it said it could not do anymore; all the cuts had been made. …
The department is required to do more and more with less and less.
The impact of efficiency dividends and budget savings measures was
revealed during the 2012 Budget Senate Estimates hearings. DFAT advised that it
needed to find savings of $25-$30 million and that, when other measures had
been taken, the shortfall would require the department to downsize by between
100 and 150 positions. The overseas network and staff training and development
would be quarantined, with positions being reduced in Canberra through natural
attrition and voluntary redundancies.
The Lowy Institute estimated that DFAT’s budget now accounted for ‘less
than 0.2 per cent of GDP [gross domestic product].’ This compared to Defence’s
1.9 percent of GDP. It suggested DFAT’s budget should be ‘0.3 to 0.4 percent of
GDP’. The Lowy Institute added,
however, that the increases should be a ‘staged investment’ because it had ‘taken
25 years to run it down and it will take another 25 years to build it back up
DFAT agreed that it had about 5 per cent less staff and about 14 per
cent fewer overseas staff than in 1996. In comparison the public service had
grown by around 12 per cent over the same period.
The composition of Australia’s overseas representatives, however, has
changed over the years. The Lowy Institute commented that almost all government
departments had international divisions and had increased their overseas
representation ‘over the last two decades’. While DFAT’s workload had
consequently eased, staff of other departments were often located at DFAT’s
overseas posts and therefore had increased the burden of coordination and
administration. Staff of other departments also ‘rely heavily on the diplomatic
skills, local knowledge and contacts of heads of mission and DFAT staff.’
A supplementary submission from DFAT advised there were 599 A-based DFAT
staff and 633 A-based staff of other agencies at Australia’s overseas posts.
A-based DFAT staff are outnumbered by those of other departments in the S &
SE Asia and Pacific regions, and in the Americas (excluding the Australia’s UN
post in New York). There are a further 549 unattached other agency staff
working overseas but away from Australia’s overseas posts, plus 99 staff
working in host government agencies and other bodies.
In Chapter Two, the Committee recommended that Australia should increase
its overseas representation. DFAT will not be able to achieve this without
increased funding. The Committee believes there is merit in apportioning a set
percentage of GDP to fund DFAT and has made a recommendation to this effect.
This may not be immediately possible in the current environment of financial
constraint, but should be achievable in the long term.
The Lowy Institute has recommended the opening of 20 new diplomatic
posts. Based on DFAT’s estimate of the cost of opening an embassy, ‘$25 million
over three or four years’, this would require additional funding amounting to approximately $143 million per year.
Added to DFAT’s 2012–13 appropriation of about $875 million, total DFAT funding
would come to $1022 million.
Expanding Australia’s diplomatic footprint would comprise more than just
opening new diplomatic posts—it also entails increasing the number of diplomats
at particular posts. DFAT advised the Committee how it would expand the
diplomatic network if it was provided with an additional $75 million per year.
This amounted to opening an additional 13 posts as well as increasing the
number of diplomats in particular geographic regions.
On this figure, opening 20 new posts, albeit involving several consulates,
would require about $115 million per year. This would bring DFAT’s 2012–13
appropriation to approximately $994 million.
Figures on the DFAT’s website indicates that Australia’s GDP projected
for 2012 amounts to $1 586 000 million. Therefore the cost of
expanding DFAT’s diplomatic footprint by 20 posts, as suggested by the Lowy
Institute would amount to apportioning DFAT 0.06 per cent of GDP.
The Committee acknowledges that there are likely to be significant
additional costs in maintaining an expanded diplomatic network, but
apportioning DFAT a reasonable proportion of GDP would be expected to expand
Australia’s diplomatic footprint to that commensurate with Australia’s standing
in the OECD.
Numbers of A-based staff overseas
A response to budgetary constraints can be reducing the number of staff
overseas and employing proportionately more LES who are less of a budgetary
The Lowy Institute documented the changes in DFAT’s A-based overseas
staff noting the decline began in the late 1980s. The number reached a low
between 2003 and 2005 when it had shrunk by ‘45 per cent’ compared to 1988–89.
It added that DFAT’s current A-based overseas staff ‘represents a workforce
over a third smaller than it was at its highest point in 1988.’
The Lowy Institute noted that ‘the proportion of DFAT staff serving
overseas is the lowest of the 13 diplomatic services’ it had reviewed.
The size of Australia’s overseas posts has also changed:
… the number of small posts (those with three or less
Australia-based officers) has grown significantly over the last two decades.
These posts are often accredited to a number of countries and are severely
constrained in their ability to carry out core diplomatic activities in
addition to growing administrative consular burdens. Despite the recent
addition of staff on overseas postings, there remain at least 18 posts with
only two A-based officers.
DFAT responded that in addition to the 18 two A-based staff posts, there
were 17 where there were three A-based staff. It was necessary, however, to
look at the small posts individually because for some posts it was:
… not unreasonable that there be two people. … a mission in
Malta with two A-based people makes sense in terms of the size and population
of Malta and Australia’s interests. … We have two people in Nauru and that
probably is fine. But I am sure that, if you went through some of the places
where we have three people, you would probably question whether we should not
In its submission the Lowy Institute recommended:
- Staff numbers should
be increased across all functions, and particularly in the consular and policy
- Staffing in Canberra
and at posts should be rebalanced to increase the proportion of our existing
diplomats serving overseas by reducing administrative demands and layers of
management at headquarters.
DFAT responded that it agreed there needed to be ‘a better balance
between people serving abroad and people in Canberra’ and there should be ‘a
bigger percentage of our people overseas’. It added that it was achieving that
DFAT told the Committee that it was misleading to compare the proportion
of A-based staff serving overseas to the total number of A-based departmental
staff because there were areas in the department such as the Australian
Passport Office and the department’s corporate ICT area where staff were
permanently based in Australia.
Further, referring to figures provided in its submission, DFAT
… there [are] 1129 A-based policy staff, of whom 547 are in
Canberra and 374 overseas, and you will see that 193 are staff off-line. A good
proportion of the policy staff off-line are either doing language training or
preparing for overseas posts in some way. So, when you look at policy staff we
do not have a small percentage of people overseas; we have a significant
percentage of people overseas.
The Committee recognises that DFAT’s commitment to increasing the
percentage of A-based staff serving overseas. This has been exemplified by DFAT
quarantining its overseas network from the current plan to reduce staff
The Committee draws attention to DFAT’s advice that it would boost the
number of A-based staff at overseas posts should it receive additional funding.
Language proficiency of staff
The Lowy Institute drew attention to the foreign language proficiency of
DFAT staff. It noted that while language training had increased, as at February
2011, ‘only around 10 per cent of DFAT staff have a working level proficiency
in an Asian language’.
The AIG also commented that sometimes diplomats with particular language
skills were posted to countries with a different language.
There was also the problem of staff leaving after having received intensive
language training and completing their first posting:
… [DFAT] will immerse people, particularly before a first
posting. Then they will go off and do the posting, come back and leave. I think
there is about a 50 per cent attrition rate. … The big investment has been
made, so they have come away and they can speak Japanese, Korean or whatever,
and then they go and do other things, and go into the commercial sphere. That
is a big problem for DFAT.
People who have Mandarin, by and large, but not always, do in
fact spend a fair amount of time in Mandarin speaking posts. It is a myth that
someone who has got Mandarin goes to China one time and then spends the rest of
their life doing other things. That can happen, but it would normally happen
because the officer either did not want to continue with their Mandarin
speciality or may not have been all that good in the job.
DFAT also told the Committee that it needed to over recruit staff with
language skills because of the attrition rate:
Firstly, you lose some because they do not want to continue
on with the speciality in that country. Secondly, you lose some because the
private sector grab them. They have been well trained up and the private sector
pay them more. We regularly lose people from that. Thirdly, you lose people sometimes
because, while they have the language skills, they do not have the judgement
you want with a policy job.
DFAT advised that in 2010 it had undertaken an internal review of its
language training which had identified the need to increase skills in several
Southeast Asian languages, and had also resulted in an increase of language
designated positions to 163.
Further, the department advised that:
517 current employees (covering a total of 883 individual
language proficiencies*) [had] been tested to a professional working level
proficiency (S3/R3 and above) during their career. … *(this number includes 178
employees with multiple language proficiencies)
Figures provided by DFAT indicate that of the 883 individual language
proficiencies, 211 were for a Southeast Asian language.
The Committee notes that DFAT is meeting the criticism offered by the
Lowy Institute by increasing the foreign language proficiency of its staff. The
Committee is pleased that DFAT has quarantined foreign language training from
its current cost cutting measures.
Back-to-back posting of staff
The issue of back-to-back postings was also raised by the AIG. It
commented that such postings were not DFAT policy which meant returning
diplomats had to wait before another posting, probably to a different country ‘to
broaden you out’. This differed from the British diplomatic service which had
back-to-back postings and seemed ‘to keep its people longer’.
DFAT defended its policy of not having back-to-back postings for its
Policy officers are also required in Canberra. … [They]
provide policy advice to government and draft Cabinet submissions. If something
happens overseas it is the policy officers here who provide advice on it … What
about the policy officers back here who also want to work overseas? There is an
equity issue. Secondly, if you keep people overseas too long they can sometimes
forget the country they come from. That is important to avoid. … It is
important for policy officers in Canberra to actually have experience of the
countries they are working on and to have that overseas experience.
The Committee does not accept DFAT’s arguments concerning the
back-to-back posting of staff. In certain circumstances there are clear advantages
for a longer posting in a particular country, such as developing a greater
depth of understanding of the country and developing broader networks. The
Committee rejects the notion that diplomats on longer postings can ‘forget the
country they come from.’
The Committee notes that diplomatic services, such as that of the UK
which has a network twice the size of DFAT’s, have been able to accommodate
requests for back-to-back postings.
The Committee believes the issue of back-to-back postings should be reviewed
as part of the White Paper, the external review and subject to any increases in
Effect on separation rates and morale
The Committee has sought information concerning the effect of staffing
constraints on the numbers of staff leaving DFAT—the separation rate—and the
general morale of DFAT staff.
The Lowy Institute told the Committee that, anecdotally:
… there is a growing sense of strain and issues with morale
because people are overstretched and run a bit ragged. … I think there are issues
there because of this long-term trend we have identified and it is difficult
DFAT subsequently provided figures on staff retention rates and the
results of a 2010 staff survey. It stated:
Over the past decade the average separation rate for DFAT was
5.7% compared to an [Australian Public Service] average of 7.1%. … Staff and
funding levels over recent years have had no discernible effect on separation
The DFAT separation rates are consistently (between 0.5 and 3.0 per
cent) below of those of the Australian Public Service (APS) except for 2003–04
(6.2 compared to 6.0)—one of the years identified by the Lowy Institute as
being the low point for the numbers of Australian diplomats serving overseas.
DFAT advised that its 2010 staff survey ‘showed that staff perceptions
and attitudes towards working in DFAT were positive’:
Around three-quarters of staff were satisfied with their job
and with DFAT as an employer. Almost nine in ten staff (85%) are proud to work
in DFAT (well above the APS large average of 68%).
On the surface it would appear DFAT’s staff morale, shown by retention
rates and surveys, is good. Staff surveys, however, can be an inexact
instrument. Without examining the survey in detail—for example, the questions
and level of anonymity—it is difficult to draw a firm conclusion.
Locally engaged staff
Evidence provided to the Committee shows that the majority of staff
working in Australia’s overseas posts and offices were locally engaged.
Table 3.1: Proportion of locally employed staff at overseas
posts and offices
Total overseas staff
Locally engaged staff
% Locally engaged staff
Witnesses identified several advantages of employing LES, including:
- cost savings—DIAC
told the Committee that the costs of converting its more than 1000 LES into
A-based positions would cost ‘hundreds of millions’ of dollars;
- providing posts with
local knowledge and local language capability;
- providing expertise;
- providing higher
management skills, sometimes involving supervision of A-based staff.
Austrade told the Committee that on occasions its locally engaged
consular staff were brought to Australia to participate in DFAT consular
training courses. The Committee observes
that this would enable a greater understanding of Australia and Australian
The hiring of LES can, however, impact small labour markets. AusAID told
… we have a higher ratio of A-based to locally engaged staff
in the Pacific because the labour markets are small and the availability of
high levels of local expertise are fairly thin on the ground. There is also
another reason, in that we do not want to hire all of the good people out of
the national government and have them working on the aid program. The brain
drain is something that we are very conscious of.
A further risk was identified by the AIG:
… there probably needs to be a much more co-ordinated effort
put into getting [LES] to understand the Australian dynamic and what the
Australian environment is like. You quite often see that they do not quite have
their heads in the right places, particularly related to the latest political
or economic developments in Australia or just generally what is going on in
Australia. There is a great vagueness there in many cases.
The MIA was more specific and listed concerns about the poor client
service provided by some LES employed by DIAC at overseas posts. The criticisms
condescending or rude attitude of staff … ;
- poor knowledge of
immigration law and natural justice, and inaccurate advice and/or responses
given … ;
- inconsistency and
bias in decision-making and failure to take into account valid
evidence/policy/legislation … and case officers conducting one-sided interviews
- poor record-keeping …
insensitivity. For example, … [failure to] understand cultural issues relating
to marriage, family obligations, and other norms in cultures … ;
- poor English language
competency of staff.
The MIA emphasised to the Committee that its criticism was not directed
at DIAC, but concerned the
influence of individual LES case officers when applications were initially
It also depends on the particular case officers who may be at
posts over two or three years … some of these posts start to make very
significant … about 10, 15 or 20 per cent of a caseload being refused and on
its way to the Migration Review Tribunal. …
It varies over a period of time. It also varies from post to
post. … they have their prejudices— …
Racial, religious, sexual in some cases, age. A lot of it is
actually based on race and also on religious grounds. They will process a case
according to those prejudices. Some cases go through very quickly and very
easily. Others get bogged down in the minutiae and you are just forever
spending time and time again trying to satisfy each of the requirements.
The MIA told the Committee that LES tended to discriminate against other
nationalities especially in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
The overseas DIAC offices which were identified in the MIA’s submission were:
Hanoi, Laos, Sri Lanka, China, USA, Brazil, Cairo, and Thailand.
The MIA added that while A-based DIAC officers were ultimately
responsible for applications at overseas posts and there was a review process,
applicants were reluctant ‘to lodge a complaint because of possible
retribution.’ It called for more A-based officers to be deployed especially in
posts which were ‘frequently cited in complaints’ and, if necessary, improve
LES ‘training, rotations and reviews.’
DIAC told the Committee that to replace its LES with A-based staff would
be impossible to fund and would deny the department with a ‘very critical
resource’ which understood the local environment. It endeavoured to look for an
ethnic balance in its offices and if necessary constructed the jobs and duties
to achieve that aim.
Nevertheless, it employed LES staff on a merit basis:
We select the best people available to do the job, regardless
of their ethnicity, religion or other affiliations, but certainly, we are aware
of the nuances that exist in the countries in which we operate. … the ethnic
rivalries and the other issues that come into play.
DIAC added that it explained the reasons for its decisions:
… yes we do provide answers, which are often not accepted,
but there are appeal mechanisms. We accept the fact that if someone feels that
they have been discriminated against they have access to a range of bodies that
they can appeal to. We can be pursued for defective administration, bias, the
failure of our duty of care, et cetera, and people do pursue those avenues of
I would say we are accurate in 99.99 per cent of the time,
but we do make errors.
The department was expanding its network of third party
providers—Service Delivery Partners—to provide additional access to its
services overseas. These partners:
… do not make visa decisions but their services include
receiving visa applications and charges, delivering applications to the
relevant DIAC office, providing basic client information, arranging client
appointments and returning passports.
The Committee has not tested the specific allegations of the MIA through
seeking a response from DIAC. It is clear to the Committee, however, that as
A-based staff numbers are reduced and LES become more numerous, there is a risk
of inadequate supervision. This may allow some LES to indulge any prejudices in
processing visa applications.
Introducing Service Delivery Partners removes applicants further from
DIAC’s A-based decision-makers.
The Committee recommends that the Department of Immigration
and Citizenship engage in an ongoing dialogue with interested parties,
including the Migration Institute of Australia, to identify poor client
service performance by locally engaged staff at overseas offices and by
Service Delivery Partners, with the aim of strengthening the performance
management and training for underperforming overseas staff and Service
The Committee welcomes the candour with which DFAT responded to the
comments and criticisms of the Lowy Institute, and in providing information
about how it would expand Australia’s diplomatic network should it be provided
with increased funding.
The Committee notes that both Austrade and AusAID have undergone recent independent
reviews, but it is some time since DFAT was reviewed.
AusAID told the Committee that its external review was ‘very important’
because it injected new ideas, allowed community engagement with the AusAID
program, corrected inaccurate perceptions of AusAID’s work, and provided a
clear ‘strategic policy direction’.
Recent increases to Australia’s aid budget and consequent increase in
AusAID staff are likely to increase demands on DFAT’s infrastructure and
accommodation resources. The Committee notes that several posts which Parliamentary
delegations have visited are severely constrained in the provision of
infrastructure and accommodation.
The Committee considers that an external review would provide a timely
evaluation of DFAT’s effectiveness and provide it with a strategic direction to
meet Australia’s needs into the future. It could also evaluate DFAT’s capacity
to meet the needs of agencies that use its resources.
In Chapter Two, the concept of the ‘badge of Government’ through
Austrade and DFAT support and advocacy was raised as providing value to
Australian companies operating overseas. On rare occasions businesses operating
abroad conduct themselves in such a way that reveal them to be behaving with a
lack of integrity and probity. Such activities risk tainting any badge of
Government association. It is therefore important that DFAT have in place
strategies and procedures to ensure the integrity and probity of Australian
businesses with which it becomes associated.
The Committee recommends that there be an external review of
the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. The terms of reference for the
review should include, but not be limited to:
the Department is able to effectively carry out the Government’s priorities
as identified in its White Paper;
and procedures to ensure the integrity and probity of Australian businesses
with which the Department’s overseas operations become associated;
effective resource allocation of current and any additional funding;
efficiency and effectiveness of multiple country accreditation and
to back postings of A-based staff;
capacity of posts to provide infrastructure and accommodation to meet the
needs of increases in AusAID staff and staff other agencies;
the use of locally engaged staff; and
that the Department has the capacity to attract and retain high quality