1.7 The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT)

DFAT’s website includes the current organisational chart and biographies for members of the department's senior executive. In addition, there are entries providing information on Australia and its foreign, trade and investment and aid policies, as well as advice on international travel. There are also links to the websites for Austrade and Tourism Australia.

DFAT has offices in each Australian capital city. More information on these offices can be found on the department’s website.

1.7.1 Portfolio ministers

The foreign affairs and trade portfolio supports the Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, the Minister for International Development and the Pacific, and the Assistant Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment.

When writing to portfolio ministers, missions should address their communications as follows:

  • Senator the Hon Marise Payne
    Minister for Foreign Affairs
    Parliament House
    Canberra ACT 2600

    Ms Payne’s office can be contacted on (02) 6277 7500, fax (02) 6273 4118

  • Senator the Hon Simon Birmingham
    Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment
    Parliament House
    Canberra ACT 2600

    Mr Birmingham’s office can be contacted on (02) 6277 7420, fax (02) 6277 9333

  • Senator the Hon Anne Ruston
    Assistant Minister for International Development and the Pacific
    Parliament House
    Canberra ACT 2600

    Ms Ruston’s office can be contacted on (02) 6277 3753

  • Senator the Hon Mark Coulton
    Assistant Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment
    Parliament House
    Canberra ACT 2600

    Senator Mark Coulton’s office can be contacted on (02) 6882 0999, fax: (02) 6882 9935

1.7.2 Protocol Branch

DFAT’s Protocol Branch provides services to:

  • the diplomatic corps, comprising more than 105 embassies and high commissions in Canberra, and up to 40 foreign heads of mission based in third country capitals who have non-resident accreditation to Australia
  • the consular corps – around 370 consulates-general and consulates in cities outside Canberra, headed by career consular staff or by honorary consuls
  • United Nations and other international organisations that are headquartered or represented in Australia
  • a small number of non-diplomatic representative offices.

The information in this guide is primarily for use by members of the diplomatic and consular corps whose status derives from the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations. Much of the practical advice provided applies also to accredited representatives of international organisations.

Information tailored to the needs of honorary consuls is contained in separate Guidelines for Honorary Consuls in Australia.

The Diplomatic List, the Consular List and the list of Representatives of International Organisations are updated daily and are published on the department’s website.

Protocol Branch does not manage guest of government matters; these are the responsibility of the Ceremonial and Hospitality Branch (CERHOS) of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. Contact details for CERHOS and other Commonwealth Government agencies are available in the Australian Government Directory.

1.7.2.1 Contact details

  • Chief of Protocol: (02) 6261 3242
  • Director ‒ Diplomatic and Consular Accreditation (Deputy Chief of Protocol): (02) 6261 3178
  • Director ‒ Protection, Privileges and Immunities (Deputy Chief of Protocol): (02) 6261 2642
  • Personal Assistant to Chief of Protocol: (02) 6261 3243
  • Email: protocol.branch@dfat.gov.au
  • Protocol Branch Fax: (02) 6261 3455
  • Website: www.dfat.gov.au/protocol
  • After Hours/Emergency Protocol Duty Officer: (02) 6273 1355 or 0418 167 127

1.7.3 Correspondence with DFAT

Correspondence specifically on protocol matters should be sent to Protocol Branch. This includes advice of head of mission absences from Australia and mission closures.

For other matters, missions should send correspondence, including notes verbales, directly to the appropriate area of the department (there is no need to send copies to Protocol Branch):

  • general bilateral issues should be directed to the relevant geographic area
  • legal matters should be referred to the Legal Division, specifically:
  • matters concerning international organisations, including candidacies, should be directed to the Multilateral Policy Division.

1.7.4 National days

DFAT is usually represented at national day functions hosted by foreign missions by the Chief of Protocol and the Assistant Secretary of the relevant geographic branch. The Chief of Protocol will propose a toast but will not make a speech, and should be informed in advance of any special formalities.

The Chief of Protocol is normally invited to propose the first toast to the Head of State and the people of the host country. It is customary for the first verse of the host country's national anthem to be played or sung after the toast. The host country's Head of Mission then proposes a toast to the Queen and the people of Australia; this is followed by the first verse of the Australian national anthem (see section 1.2)

Last Updated: 25 September 2018