Public diplomacy

Public Diplomacy Strategy 2013-14

Guiding Principles

Whole of government

  • ensuring a common understanding of objectives and the range of activity across relevant agencies in Australia and at posts, reducing duplication.


  • identifying actively how public diplomacy can contribute to the Government's international policy priorities.

Engagement across the spectrum of activities

  • advocating and direct messaging, listening, facilitating, building networks, cultural exchange and cultural diplomacy and broadcasting.


  • ensuring active evaluation to identify those activities with high impact in terms of informing and engaging target individuals and organisations overseas.


To inform and engage individuals and organisations overseas to improve understanding and influence for Australia in a manner consistent with the Government's goals.

Key Goals

Strengthen Australia's international reputation, image and relationships through advocacy and messaging focussed on

  • regional engagement - emphasising Australia's deep integration in the Asia-Pacific region and commitment to building deeper and broader links, pursuing the policy pathways in the Australia in the Asian Century White Paper;
  • global agenda – highlighting Australia's support for global, regional and bilateral political and security frameworks and norms based on the United Nations Charter and our commitment to a well-functioning multilateral rules-based order; economic strengths - emphasising Australia's competitive business and investment environment, open and resilient economy and commitment to trade liberalisation, strong education and training system and high-level capabilities in science and environmental technology and innovation;
  • social and cultural assets - emphasising Australia's strong political governance systems, the social and economic assets from our multicultural community, including its extensive Asian connections, and the quality of life that makes Australia a desirable place to live/study/invest in.

Promote a clear and confident Australian vision for the international policy agenda that reflects our core national interests, emphasising

  • a collective approach to building regional stability, security and economic growth, focussed on building key institutions notably the East Asia Summit and APEC, with the aim of reinforcing Australia's position as an engaged and active participant in the region;
  • a strengthening of the rules-based global order, focussed on our forward agenda for our two-year term on the United Nations Security Council, and commitment to embedding the G20 in global architecture;
  • an orderly rebalancing of the global economy, prioritising the G20 as the premier international forum for economic dialogue and cooperation;
  • an active bilateral and regional trade and investment liberalisation and reform agenda, focussed on achieving more open global markets, transparency and predictability, and ongoing support for the multilateral trade rules system; and
  • more effective development assistance, positioning Australia as supporting new sources of long term global growth, with our focus on working with key partners to maximise the effectiveness of aid.

Promote Australian values, highlighting a commitment to

  • democracy, the rule of law, freedom of speech and respect for human rights, including intercultural tolerance, gender equality and respect for indigenous cultures and values;
  • a rules-based global order characterised by effective multilateral and regional organisations and bodies;
  • transparent and open markets for trade and investment;
  • effective support for and sustainable development in line with the Millennium Development Goals; and
  • environmental sustainability and action to address the causes and impacts of climate change.

Main priorities and messages for 2013-14

Highlight our term on the UNSC, emphasising our intention to make a positive contribution to the international policy agenda

  • profiling the key themes and priorities that we will pursue during our term on the Council, notably a global rules-based order, effective action to promote global and regional security, economic growth and development and environmental sustainability;
  • action: all posts, particularly UNNY, Geneva, Washington, Beijing, Moscow, Paris, London and posts in Africa and the Middle East.

Promote our interest in the strengthening of cooperative relationships among the major regional powers – China, Japan, Indonesia, India, the Republic of Korea and the US, and reinforce our deep engagement with ASEAN and within the EAS and APEC to that end

  • underscore the importance we attach to developing collective regional approaches that will underpin security and prosperity
  • reiterate our continuing strong support for the US presence in the region, noting the contribution of our bilateral alliance to regional stability;
  • promote the core messages in the Defence White Paper and the National Security Strategy, emphasising the mutually reinforcing role of foreign and defence policy in promoting our regional security and prosperity objectives;
  • action: all Asia-Pacific region posts.

Promote support for our year as G20 host in 2014, emphasising that our objective is for the G20 to become a more effective agent for collective action directed at delivering sustainable and balanced growth, and managing broader geopolitical shifts

  • underscore the particular importance of growth and jobs, and the contribution that trade makes to global growth,
  • highlight the G20 as a vehicle to strengthen global economic governance;
  • action: G20 posts, Geneva WTO and Paris OECD.

Promote trade, investment and general commercial/economic opportunities arising from existing and recently concluded FTAs, particularly AANZFTA and MAFTA, and those in prospect such as the TPP and the bilaterals with Japan and the ROK

  • underscoring the importance of these negotiations as contributing positively to global trade liberalisation and reform and regional economic integration; and
  • support innovative platforms for dialogue between government and business, including those in place with India, China, Japan, Indonesia and the US
  • action: posts in ASEAN and TPP countries, Seoul, Washington and Beijing.

Promote positive people-level ties, focussed on the region, including

  • strengthening engagement with alumni networks of Australian-educated leaders, especially in Asia, and promoting the Australia Awards;
  • supporting links between Australian and regional communities and organisations;
  • action: all posts, particularly in Asia.

Strengthen our cultural diplomacy efforts, using Australia's cultural and artistic assets tailored to individual overseas markets to advance our key international interests and objectives

  • action: all posts.

Support global and regional efforts to support measures that promote sustainable development

  • action: all posts.

Promote more informed and comprehensive coverage by the Australian media of regions and issues of priority and importance, in particular Asia and Asian affairs and vice versa

  • strengthened domestic advocacy efforts, particularly focussed on growing public awareness and engagement with opinion leaders, for example the consultations on the Country Strategies mandated by the Australia in the Asian Century White Paper;
  • action: all posts, STOs and Department in Canberra.

Cultural diplomacy and cultural exchange

In the coming year, the major cultural diplomacy priorities will be:

  • the successful delivery of the cultural promotion programs in Vietnam (2013) and Indonesia (2014) under the auspices of the Australia International Cultural Council (AICC)
  • ongoing efforts to revamp the AICC in line with the recommendation in the Australia in the Asian Century White Paper
    • actions already taken include the revision of the Council's terms of reference, redevelopment of its forward work program and amendment of its grants guidelines;
    • as well as enhanced consultation and coordination arrangements with relevant agencies, particularly the Office for the Arts, Australia Council for the Arts, Tourism Australia and Austrade as well as State/Territory agencies and external bodies;
    • options for future governance arrangements for the Council are being developed for presentation to ministers.
  • the effective use of major sporting events notably the Cricket World Cup and the Asian Football Cup (soccer), both to be held in Australia in 2015, as vehicles for promoting our key messages and interests, including in the preparatory stages of those events; and
  • promoting Australian films at international festivals and building networking opportunities with market relevance.

Our Indigenous Program will continue to promoting indigenous culture through dual inward/outward bound indigenous cultural visitors programs

  • this year we will review the current indigenous program with a view to introducing an indigenous cultural visitor programs and establishing enhanced exchanges with international institutions to promote indigenous culture overseas.

The implementation of the strategy should be characterised by:

  • leveraging the programs of the Government's Foundations, Councils and Institutes (FCIs) in support of public diplomacy objectives.

Enabling objectives


  • Active use of online and social media tools to expand and enhance existing public diplomacy efforts
  • Development of an online public diplomacy forum that will connect staff and foster networks, training and information, creating a channel for identifying news stories for external audiences.

Networks of influence

  • Active use of the Australian diaspora, expatriate and alumni networks in Australia and overseas to reinforce and multiply messages;


Visit programs will continue to be targeted in support of the public diplomacy priorities and messages set out in this document

  • International Cultural Visits (ICVs) will have a particular emphasis on AICC focus countries, namely India, Vietnam, Indonesia, Turkey and Brazil;
  • International Media Visits (IMVs) will be focussed on promoting our core priorities as set out in this document;


We will continue to improve organisational performance by ensuring the public diplomacy effort has a strong governance framework supported by effective ICT systems and administrative processes to enable staff to deliver against the objectives in this document.

Training and development

  • the public diplomacy training program is being redeveloped to better equip officers, including LES, to provide targeted and cost effective programs;
  • an annual Secretary's award for excellence in the delivery of public diplomacy programs/activities will be introduced this year.


This year there will be a number of changes to the process for allocating public diplomacy funding to posts, as follows

  • the annual allocation process will be retained, but posts will be asked to present a 3-year plan for their public diplomacy programs;
  • this is aimed at promoting continuity from year to year and longer term relationship-building;
  • posts will be encouraged to collaborate in delivering region-wide activities;
  • posts should utilise opportunities provide by significant national and international events, commemorations and anniversaries to highlight public diplomacy messaging
  • posts will also be required to submit an evaluation/assessment of their previous year's activities as part of funding bids;
  • the existing contingency fund will be expanded in 2013-14 and posts will be invited to bid for funding from that pool with the specific focus on implementation of the recommendations in the Australia in the Asian Century White Paper.