Annual Report 2005-2006
 

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Your location: Performance > Outcome 3 > Output 3.1 > Quality and quantity information

OUTPUT 3.1: Public information services and public diplomacy

Output 3.1 Quality and quantity information

Quality indicators

Quantity indicators

Satisfaction with public diplomacy

Portfolio ministers appreciated the department's role in providing accurate and positive messages to domestic stakeholders about trade liberalisation initiatives. Industry groups and state governments welcomed the department's trade outreach programs including through consultations held around the country and the department's web-based and other published resources. The department continued to receive new requests to subscribe to its electronic updates on trade negotiations. Print runs of the department's trade publications were fully subscribed. Our state and territory offices received additional requests for trade publications for distribution to the public, parliamentarians, industry groups and schools.

Senior federal and state government officials and senior executives of Australian companies complimented our successful promotion of a positive image of Australia internationally through the Aichi World Expo. We received letters of appreciation from many senior visitors to the award-winning Australian Pavilion.

Posts provided regular feedback on the value of the department's internal Key Messages Brief as a tool for advocacy of Australia's position on current issues. They expressed appreciation for our timely advice and talking points for media interviews, speeches and letters to the editor to rebut or correct reporting on the government's policy on Indigenous issues, climate change or labour mobility, for example.

Other agencies, such as Austrade, Tourism Australia, Invest Australia and the Department of Education, Science and Training commended posts' efforts and support for staging various 'Australia Week' events and promotions. Local government libraries and galleries in metropolitan and regional Australia welcomed the opportunity to host a historical display highlighting the diverse roles played by Australian women in international diplomacy.

The Australian Indigenous Commission at the Musée du Quai Branly in Paris attracted international acclaim and President Jacques Chirac spoke publicly of the importance of Australia's contribution. Media coverage of the opening and the parallel reception and Indigenous art exhibition at the Australian embassy in Paris highlighted the department's work in promoting Australian Indigenous culture.

John Harnden, Chief Executive Officer of the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games, acknowledged the department's 'valued support' in contributing to the success of the Games. Mr Downer, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Foreign Affairs Ms Gambaro, and numerous VIP guests commended the department's detailed arrangements for high-level hospitality and smooth facilitation arrangements at airports, hotels and Games' events.

The International Media Visits (IMV) program produced extensive and constructive media reporting on key foreign and trade policy initiatives such as the bilateral free trade agreement negotiations with China, our relations with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and Australia's Pacific policies—particularly our contribution to security in Solomon Islands and East Timor. IMV participants provided uniformly positive feedback on program arrangements, access to ministers and other high-level interlocutors and more generally on the opportunity to see and better understand Australia firsthand.

All the department's Cultural Awards Scheme recipients provided enthusiastic feedback on their programs in Australia. Since returning home many of them have helped promote Australia's cultural assets internationally.

Publications

The department produced a range of publications providing general information on Australia and specialised resources on Australia's foreign and trade policy and the economic and political climate of other countries. Publications are available in hard copy, online, CD or downloadable PDF files.

We continued to produce a range of trade statistical publications providing information on the composition and direction of Australia's international trade in goods and services, as well as publications on our trade relationships with APEC, the Americas, East Asia and the European Union. Drawing on official Australian and international statistical sources, the department's trade statistical publications offer the most comprehensive coverage of trade information available to policy makers, researchers, the business community and general public.

The department's latest historical publications in the series, Australia in the world: The Foreign Affairs and Trade files were positively received in Australia and overseas (see sub-output 3.1.2 for more information). The publication 'Not a matter for negotiation': Australia's commitment to Malaysia 1961–1966 was circulated widely in Australia and Malaysia. The publication Friendship and co-operation: the 1976 Basic Treaty between Australia and Japan was launched by the Prime Minister at the High Court of Australia on 15 June 2006 in one of the key events on the official program for the 2006 Australia–Japan Year of Exchange. It has been widely circulated in an English language version in Japan and is being translated into Japanese.

Our economic publications attracted strong media coverage. The Age ran an article citing the findings of the department's International Trade in Education report. International media, including the Guardian Weekly and the English edition of China's Xinhua carried articles on the publication and the International Education Association of Australia posted a review of the book on its website. Unlocking China's Services Sector was covered in major newspapers including The Australian Financial Review, The Age and The Australian. The report continues to receive media attention in the context of the ongoing Australia and China free trade agreement negotiations.

Freedom of information requests

Of the 109 freedom of information requests processed, 85 were not subject to review and appeal. Three complaints were received in the department under the Privacy Act 1988 during the reporting period.

Quantity information for output 3.1
Indicators 2005–06 2004–05
Number of Australian performing groups, artists, exhibitors and other cultural visitors supported 1 821 1 439
Number of public briefings given by departmental staff in Australia and overseas 3 744 2 434
Number of other public diplomacy/cultural activities organised 1 632 1 641
Number of media-related inquiries handled by the media liaison section 10 648 8 700
Number of visits organised under:
International Media Program 36 33
Special Visits Program 26 32
Cultural Awards Scheme 15 15
Number of publications produced and number of copies distributed1 590 367
Number of statistical services provided to external clients 15 113 8 812
Number of treaties maintained on, and added to, the international treaties database2 2 570 3 073
Number of Freedom of Information requests processed 109 87
Number of records assessed for international relations sensitivities before release under the Archives Act 1983 and number of completed requests for archival information 1426 1 146
  1. The department continues to distribute a substantial number of publications in hard copy form. However, given our increasing use of the website to disseminate publications—including to our overseas posts—the quantity of hard copy documents distributed has become a less meaningful indicator.
  2. For information on treaties, see the Australian Treaties Database at www.info.dfat.gov.au/treaties.

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