Department Foreign Affairs & Trade  
Annual Report - Contents
DFAT Annual Report 1998-99

Appendix 1: Ministerial Responsibilities

Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Hon. Alexander Downer, MP

Mr Downer has overall responsibility for the portfolio, including the department’s administration and management, and all non-trade international political, multilateral and legal issues (including the treaty-making process), consular and passport functions, and development assistance matters. In addition, he is responsible for all human rights, arms control and disarmament issues, peacekeeping, and the non-trade related aspects of the UN system. Mr Downer shares responsibility for international security issues with the Minister for Defence. International environment issues, while primarily the responsibility of the Minister for Foreign Affairs, often require close consultation and occasionally joint decision by both portfolio ministers. Mr Downer has primary carriage of non-trade related public affairs activities and questions of protocol. He also has responsibility for the administration and management of AusAID, the Australian Secret Intelligence Service, the Australian Safeguards and Non-Proliferation Office, and the Australian Centre for International and Agricultural Research.

Minister for Trade, the Hon. Tim Fischer, MP

Mr Fischer is responsible for all trade matters—bilateral, regional and multilateral—and has responsibility for Austrade and the Export Market Development Grants Scheme. Since October 1998, Mr Fischer’s responsibilities have encompassed the Export Finance and Insurance Corporation. Regional trade interests include APEC, closer economic relations with New Zealand, the ASEAN Free Trade Area and Mercosur. Multilateral interests include the WTO and OECD. Mr Fischer consults sectoral ministers, State and Territory governments and industry to ensure that the Government’s international trade efforts are effective and aimed at improving Australia’s export performance.

Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs, the Hon. Kathy Sullivan, MP

Mrs Sullivan is responsible for the day-to-day management of issues related to the aid program and provides assistance to Mr Downer in carrying out his responsibility for aid policy. She is actively involved in encouraging understanding of Australia’s official development cooperation program among the wider community and liaises closely with the NGO community in relation to overseas aid. Mrs Sullivan is the Government’s Special Representative on Demining, with Mr Downer overseeing all policy matters in relation to this issue. Mrs Sullivan provides assistance to

Mr Downer in individual consular cases and assists him on a range of other portfolio matters when he is unable to fulfil these functions.

Parliamentary Secretary for Trade, the Hon. Larry Anthony, MP

Mr Anthony is responsible for the day-to-day management of issues related to electronic commerce, trade and the Internet, the WTO Information Technology Agreement, and information technology exports. Mr Fischer retains overall responsibility. In addition, Mr Anthony assists Mr Fischer on market diversification strategies, processed foods, agriculture and agribusiness promotional activities, the TradeStart initiative and the Export Access Program, sports exports and the Olympics, as well as undertaking a liaison role with federal and State chambers of commerce and industry, and with bilateral chambers of commerce.

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