Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has visited our military and civilian personnel stationed in Afghanistan. The Foreign Minister also met with representatives of the newly formed Afghan government in Kabul to reiterate Australia's commitment to Afghanistan as the government enters a transition phase to take responsibility for security across the country.
Foreign Minister Bishop visits the United States to continue the Government's close consultation on shared foreign policy and security challenges and to promote Australian innovation and business capabilities.
Trade and Investment Minister Andrew Robb says Australia and India are on the cusp of a new dawn in their commercial relationship as he officially wrapped up Australia Business Week in India, a week-long roadshow designed to boost trade and investment between the two countries.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott warmly welcome the entry into force on 15 January 2015 of the Japan-Australia Economic Partnership Agreement. Trade and Investment Minister Robb encourages businesses to explore potential export opportunities with Japan.
Australia's largest‑ever business mission to India from 9-16 January, led by Minister for Trade and Investment Andrew Robb, builds on the growing economic momentum between our two countries.
Australia concluded its two year term on the United Nations Security Council on 31 December 2014, having served with distinction at a time when the world faces a larger number of security and humanitarian crises than since World War II.
Australia welcomes the entry into force of the Arms Trade Treaty - the first legally binding instrument negotiated in the United Nations to establish common standards for the international transfer of conventional weapons.
On 26 December 2004, a 9.1 magnitude earthquake struck off the west coast of Sumatra and resulted in one of the deadliest natural disasters in recorded history. The earthquake (followed by the tsunami) was felt simultaneously in Indonesia, Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Burma, Thailand, Singapore and the Maldives.
Tariff elimination on trade between Japan and Australia will start on 15 January 2015, the date JAEPA enters into force.
Photo: Ms Jan Adams, Deputy Secretary, and H.E. Mr Yoshitaka Akimoto, Ambassador of Japan, exchange notes in Canberra on 16 December to mark the completion of domestic processes for the Japan-Australia Economic Partnership Agreement (JAEPA). [Credit: David Foote, Auspic]
The Australian Government acknowledges the contribution of current and returned Australian volunteers to Australia's aid program on International Volunteer Day.
The Minister for Foreign Affairs launched the Department's Consular Strategy 2014-16 at Parliament House in Canberra on 3 December 2014. The Strategy outlines a model to maintain a first-class consular service that is efficient and cost-effective while prioritising assistance to those Australians who need it the most.
Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has announced the 69 Scholars and Fellows who will be supported by the New Colombo Plan to live, study and work in the region in 2015.
December 2014 is the 40th anniversary of Australia's overseas aid program. To celebrate, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has organised a photographic exhibition that highlights the significant projects, partnerships and staff that have contributed to the success of the program since 1974.
With Foreign Minister Julie Bishop chairing, the UN Security Council (UNSC) has unanimously adopted two Australian-led decisions, a Presidential Statement on international cooperation to fight terrorism and a resolution that strengthens police deployments in UN peacekeeping operations.
Across Australia DFAT is hosting celebration events for graduating Australia Awards Scholarship recipients as they prepare to return to their home countries. More than 1850 Scholarship recipients are expected to graduate from one of Australia's prestigious academic institutions in 2014.
Photo credit: Courtesy University of Sydney
Foreign Minister Julie Bishop will chair three key meetings of the UN Security Council in New York this week, during Australia's November Presidency. The meetings will focus on strengthening international cooperation to combat terrorism and counter violent extremism, enhancing the effectiveness of police deployments in UN peacekeeping operations, and the Ebola epidemic.
The landmark China-Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA) will unlock substantial new benefits for Australians for years to come. ChAFTA will add billions to the economy, create jobs and drive higher living standards for Australians.
The G20 Leaders' Summit is being held in Brisbane on 15-16 November 2014. As chair of the G20, Australia is hosting leaders of the world's major economies to discuss global economic challenges. Australia is focused on practical outcomes that will promote economic growth, create jobs and build the resilience of the global economy.
Australia's role this month in the Security Council differs significantly from previous months. As President for November, Australia is central to all Council business and responsible for the agenda, chairing meetings, facilitating agreement on a broad range of issues, and acting as the public representative of the Council. As Council President, Australia is taking a prominent role in shaping the global peace and security agenda.
The Elizabeth O'Neill Journalism Award provides an Australian and an Indonesian journalist the opportunity to work in the other's country to gain a deeper understanding of contemporary Australia and Indonesia. The high-achieving recipients will spend two weeks in Indonesia or Australia on a fully-funded program tailored to the journalist's area of expertise.
The Commonwealth Government will increase Australia's contribution to the response to Ebola in West Africa and strengthen preparations to detect and respond to a possible Ebola case in Australia.
On 1 November Australia assumed the Presidency of the United Nations Security Council. Australia will use its month-long presidency to strengthen international cooperation to combat terrorism, including tackling the threat of foreign fighters and countering violent extremism, enhance the effectiveness of police deployments in UN peacekeeping operations and improve the implementation of UN sanctions.
Experts in consular services, passports and travel advice will be online to answer your questions.
Join us from 7:30pm AEDT, Sunday 2 November on the Smartraveller Facebook page – facebook.com/smartraveller.gov.au
Trade and Investment Minister Robb hosted the Trans-Pacific Partnership Ministerial Meeting in Sydney from 25-27 October to lay the groundwork for the conclusion of the Agreement negotiations. The 12 TPP countries represent around 40% of global GDP and one third of world trade.
The 2013-14 Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Annual Report has been tabled in Parliament. The report addresses the department's performance and achievements across the range of its responsibilities, including foreign and trade policy, investment, aid policy and programs, the New Colombo Plan, international climate change engagement, and consular and passports services.
DFAT's flagship publication, Australia in Brief, has been updated with a fresh, new look. With more than 70 images as well as easy-to-read graphs and quick facts, the publication is a key public diplomacy tool. A PDF and eBook can be downloaded from the DFAT website. The eBook will also be available on Apple iBooks and Google Play.
Three new geographic trade statistical publications released today showed that in 2013: Australia's trade with East Asia was valued at $366.7 billion, up 7.6 per cent on 2012; Australia's trade with Europe was valued at $91.1 billion, down 1.9 per cent on 2012; and Australia's trade with the Americas was valued at $69.8 billion, down 3.8 per cent on 2012.
Foreign Minister Bishop chaired the annual Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) Council of Ministers Meeting in Perth on 9 October. Ministers agreed to initiatives addressing economic growth, development and security challenges faced by more than 2 billion people living around the Indian Ocean rim.
International Investment Australia is a new DFAT publication launched today by the Minister for Trade and Investment, Andrew Robb. It provides detailed snapshots of the latest trends in Australia's international investment position.
From 19 to 23 September Foreign Minister Bishop attended the United Nations General Assembly Leaders' Week and held Security Council meetings on Iraq and on the MH17 investigation.
Minister for Trade and Investment, Andrew Robb, made the inaugural annual Ministerial Statement to Parliament on Investment.
Minister for Foreign Affairs, Julie Bishop, today announced the establishment of the "Australia-China Achievement Awards", a new initiative by the Australia-China Council. The Australia-China Achievement Awards is a national program to reward and celebrate the successes of Australian organisations and individuals in advancing Australia-China relations.
"The Joint Understanding commits Australia and Indonesia to not use our intelligence resources to harm each other's interests."
The Minister for Trade and Investment, Mr Andrew Robb, and Ministers from the other eleven Parties to the Agreement Establishing the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Area (AANZFTA), signed the First Protocol to Amend AANZFTA in Nay Pyi Taw, Burma, on 26 August 2014.
Australia's Foreign Minister has announced the New Colombo Plan will be rolled-out in more than 35 locations across the Indo-Pacific from January 2015.
DFAT's new G20 publication provides summary data on both Australia's trade and investment relationships with the Group of Twenty (G20) members as well as G20 members' trade with the world.
Economic diplomacy uses our international diplomatic assets to advance Australia's prosperity and global prosperity.
The Australian Government hosted United States Secretary of State John Kerry and United States Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel in Sydney for the 2014 Australia-United States Ministerial Consultations.
Australia has experienced its strongest services trade growth since 2007, led by the business and travel sectors. Services trade increased 9.1 per cent year-on-year to $124.8 billion in 2013, according to Trade in Services, Australia 2013 released today by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
Foreign Minister Julie Bishop meets with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and Dutch Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans in Kyiv, Ukraine, on MH17 investigation.
The volume of Australia's resources exports grew over 10% in 2013 – almost double the annual rate of the past decade – according to the Composition of Trade publication released today by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
Australia has signed an historic Economic Partnership Agreement with Japan, our second biggest trading partner.
The New Colombo Plan (NCP) Patron, His Excellency the Governor General and Foreign Minister Julie Bishop presented the inaugural NCP Scholarships to 40 of Australia's best and brightest undergraduates. The NCP gives scholars the opportunity to live, study and gain work experience in Indonesia, Japan, Singapore or Hong Kong in 2014.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott met with the New Colombo Plan Scholarship recipients while they were in Canberra to receive their awards. Mr Abbott is pictured here with the four New Colombo Plan Fellows.
Australia's new development policy will shift aid program priorities to better reflect national interests and the interests of partner nations, ensuring funding is measured against a rigorous set of targets and performance benchmarks.
Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and Trade and Investment Minister Andrew Robb highlighted the shared interests between Australia and the United States, and the future of the Australia-United States alliance in our region, in speeches given to the Alliance 21 conference.
Australia’s Foreign Minister has hosted a national dialogue on Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict in partnership with the UK High Commission. The dialogue at Parliament House was an opportunity for representatives from government, civil society and academia to discuss the challenges and identify practical action to prevent sexual violence in conflict.
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Senator Brett Mason, has announced a $20 million dollar economic infrastructure program for Samoa, which aims to drive economic growth and create jobs.
Australia’s Trade at a Glance complements the annual Trade at a Glance publication, allowing users to investigate Australia’s trade profile. It brings together information from a range of DFAT publications in the one location for the first time. It includes data on Australia’s trade by state and territory, top trading partners, Australia’s trade with APEC and the G20 and more.
Australia's Foreign Minister has confirmed Governor-General, His Excellency General the Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove AK MC (Retd) as the Patron of the New Colombo Plan. Minister Bishop has also announced a second round funding that will see more Australian students head to the region under the New Colombo Plan pilot.
The Australian Government has delivered a budget for the Foreign Affairs and Trade portfolio that enhances its capacity to promote and protect Australia's national interest.
During a visit to PNG this week Australia's Foreign Minister has confirmed the commitment of the Australian Government to work with the Government of PNG to improve children's education and health by harnessing the power of PNG's national passion – rugby league.
Media release: Australia teams up with PNG to tackle education
Trade and Investment Minister Andrew Robb will visit Paris, France and Frankfurt, Germany from 5-8 May to pursue Australia's ambitious trade and investment agenda in key centres of Europe.
Media release: Robb pursues trade and investment in Europe
Foreign Minister Bishop represented Australia at the ANZAC Day Dawn Service at Villers-Bretonneux, France where she, along with Naomi Stokes - the great granddaughter of Sergeant Charles Albert Stokes DCM - presented the 2014 Sadlier-Stokes Prize.
"In my first visit to Jordan and Lebanon as Foreign Minister I have highlighted Australia's strong and continuing support for Jordan and Lebanon as they address the challenges caused by Syria's tragic and continuing humanitarian crisis."
"As a co-founder of the NPDI, Australia is committed to this initiative to bring about the eventual elimination of nuclear weapons. As a nation we were instrumental in pursuing a comprehensive ban on nuclear tests. We have campaigned to bring that treaty into effect and we are now focussed on efforts to cap the production of fissile material used to make nuclear weapons."
Today, Minister for Trade and Investment Mr Robb and his South Korean counterpart, the Minister for Trade, Industry and Energy Mr Yoon Sang-jick, signed the Korea-Australia Free Trade Agreement (KAFTA) in Seoul.
Australia has concluded negotiations on an historic Economic Partnership Agreement with Japan, our second biggest trading partner. This historic agreement is good for the Australian economy, good for jobs, good for farmers and good for consumers.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott launched the New Colombo Plan in Japan today. Australian university students will undertake a variety of study programs across Japan and are among the very first New Colombo Plan students headed to the region. "This important policy will foster closer ties between Australia and the region and develop stronger people-to-people and institutional links," said Prime Minister Abbott.
Funded by the AJF, 20 secondary school children from Minami Sanriku, Miyagi Prefecture were able to experience life in Australia. They took part in classes at the Cleveland District High School and sampled cultural, educational and recreational activities in Brisbane and the Gold Coast.
Australian Foreign Minister the Hon Julie Bishop and Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa meet during the Nuclear Security Summit 2014 in The Hague, Netherlands.
Trade and Investment Minister Andrew Robb will visit Japan and Hong Kong between 25-31 March to strengthen economic ties with key Asian trading partners and highlight the attractiveness of Australia to international investors.
The danger of terrorists acquiring nuclear material or sabotaging nuclear facilities will be the focus of the third global Nuclear Security Summit in The Hague.
World Water Day is a chance to highlight the work Australia is doing to help our neighbours better manage their water resources, meet their energy needs and boost sustainable economic growth.
Minister for Trade and Investment Andrew Robb invites Australian businesses to support one of Australia's biggest ever trade missions to China in April.
On Monday 17 March Foreign Minister Julie Bishop met with two Australian students who will soon depart for Japan to study under the New Colombo Plan.
Senator the Hon Brett Mason farewelled 116 volunteers soon to depart to developing countries, during a reception at Old Parliament House this week. The group was in Canberra to undergo training and make final preparations for their volunteering assignments.
The Australia-Korea Foundation invites Australians wishing to further their engagement with Korea in 2014-15 to apply for a grant or scholarship.
2014-15 priority areas are Korean language and literacy, Science and Innovation and Sports Diplomacy. Applications are completed online and close at 5pm AEST, 11 April 2014.
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade report Trade in Services, Australia 2012-13 released today the shows Australia's total trade in services increased 4.2 per cent year-on-year to $116.4 billion in 2012-13. Services exports rose 3.7 per cent to $52.4 billion, while imports of services rose 4.5 per cent to $64.0 billion.
Media release: Trade in services increase in 2012-13
Foreign Minister Julie Bishop announced Australia would continue its education partnership with the Philippines by contributing $150 million over six years to the Basic Education Sector Transformation (BEST) Program.
Foreign Minister Julie Bishop travelled to Vietnam on 18 and 19 February and announced Australian support for the empowerment of women and for Vietnam's economic reforms.
The full text of Australia's free trade agreement with Korea (KAFTA), our third-largest export market and fourth-largest trading partner, is today being publicly released, the Minister for Trade and Investment Andrew Robb announced.
Foreign Minister Julie Bishop travelled to Fiji on 14-15 February as a member of the Pacific Islands Forum Ministerial Contact Group to observe Fiji's progress towards democracy.
Northern Territory's trade volumes surged in 2012-13, according to Australia's trade by State and Territory 2012-13 released by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
PNG's important role in the region in combatting people smuggling, its leadership in supporting Fiji's elections and its commitment to host the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum in 2018 were on the agenda when Foreign Minister Julie Bishop visited Port Moresby and Lae.
The Australia-China Council released its new four-year Strategic Plan 2014-2018. It responds to the rapidly-growing bilateral relationship agenda and supports the Government's focus on academic and professional mobility and economic diplomacy. The New Strategic Plan was endorsed by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Hon Julie Bishop MP.
More Australians are going abroad each year. Most have enjoyable and trouble-free experiences, but some encounter difficulties and seek consular assistance.
DFAT is inviting public submissions into the development of a Consular Strategy for 2014–16.
Contribute: Consular Strategy 2014-16
The Australia-Japan Foundation's Grant Program for 2014-15 is now open for applications.
Australia-Japan Foundation grants provide seed funding for innovative proposals relevant to the objectives and key themes of the AJF.
Strengthening the Australia-United States alliance to improve trade and investment opportunities and enhance peace and security in emerging Asia will be the core priority of a visit to the United States this week.
Mr Robb said he would use his participation at the WEF to promote Australia's G20 trade and investment agenda at every opportunity with counterparts and business leaders.
Foreign Minister Julie Bishop confirmed today that the Australian Government's annual aid budget for 2013/14 will be $5.042 billion, refocused on reducing poverty in the Indo-Pacific region and tied to rigorous benchmarks.
Media release: Five billion dollar aid budget to focus on the region
Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has announced Australia will provide an initial $50,000 in emergency supplies to assist the Government of Tonga to respond to the needs of people affected by Cyclone Ian.
2014 marks the 40th anniversary of Australia's dialogue partnership with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
Today Australia has a deep relationship with ASEAN covering cooperation and engagement in a range of areas including security, culture, trade, education and development.
More about Australia's relationship with ASEAN
The AICC Grants Program is now inviting expressions of interest for international arts and cultural projects. The program funds Australian projects that support foreign and trade policy priorities and enhance understanding of Australia overseas.
More: AICC Grants Program