The establishment of a consular post in Australia – whether staffed by career or honorary consular officers – requires the prior consent of the Australian Government, which must give its approval of the location, classification and jurisdiction. The sending state should provide a note verbale detailing the reasons for opening a post; the functions to be performed, for example issuing passports and visas, notarial acts and consular assistance; expected caseload; proposed staffing arrangements and jurisdiction. For new posts to be headed by career consuls, acceptance of the head of post and other staff is managed through the visa and accreditation processes outlined in chapter 4.
Consular designations include:
- Consul-General/Honorary Consul-General
- Deputy Consul-General
- Consul/Honorary Consul
- Vice-Consul/Honorary Vice-Consul.
3.2.1 Posts headed by Honorary Consuls
For posts to be headed by honorary consuls, the note verbale must also specify the location of the office; the telephone, fax and email details of the honorary consul; and proposed business hours. The sending state may request approval for the honorary consul and other staff when seeking approval for the post's establishment, or later.
Before an honorary consul nomination can be approved, Protocol Branch liaises with the police and other authorities in each state or territory encompassed by the consular district to ensure that they have no objections to the proposed appointment. This process can take up to three months.
Honorary consul nominees must:
- be Australian citizens or permanent residents
- be of good character
- enjoy a good reputation in the local community
- be able to communicate and maintain good relations with the authorities in the consular district
- reside in a major centre (preferably a capital city) in the consular district
- be readily available to provide routine services to consular clients and accessible at all times to deal with emergencies.
To minimise the possibility of a conflict of interest, either real or perceived, the appointment of Federal or State/Territory Government office holders as honorary consuls is not considered appropriate.
The sending state must include a full curriculum vitae and contact details for the nominee with the nomination, as well as:
After the nomination of an honorary consul is approved, Protocol Branch issues an exequatur to authorise the appointee to perform consular functions. Exequaturs are not issued to career consular officers.
When an honorary consul's position becomes vacant, Protocol Branch allows up to two years for a successor to be nominated and accredited. If the position remains vacant after two years, the post is deemed closed.
Any changes to the location or business hours of the post must be conveyed to Protocol Branch.