Diplomat / Foreign Affairs and Trade Officer

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Diplomats are employed by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to represent and promote Australia's interests overseas. These interests may cover areas such as defence, trade, aid and general relations. Diplomats are also responsible for advising the Australian Government on important issues and for advocating and representing the interests of Australians living, working or visiting overseas. The specific roles and activities of a diplomat range from highly specialised to general depending on the needs and size of the embassy and county in which they are posted.

A foreign affairs and trade officer may perform the following tasks:

  • provide policy advice on foreign affairs and trade issues to government ministers
  • keep the government informed about international strategic, political, economic and trade issues
  • advise on treaties and on matters of international law
  • promote the Department's cultural relations program, and environmental and human rights objectives
  • provide consular advice to members of the public
  • provide advice about the management and administration of the Department

When based in embassies or consulates overseas, officers may perform the following tasks:

  • prepare political and economic analyses
  • undertake negotiations related to Australia's foreign policy and trade interests
  • undertake duties associated with the administration of an overseas mission
  • assist in preparations for ministerial and official visits
  • participate in cultural and community information activities, including press relations
  • assist in implementing aid programs
  • handle enquiries and representations on behalf of Australian authorities
  • represent Australia at international meetings
  • undertake consular work (e.g. issuing passports)

Diplomats must be extremely talented communicators who adapt well to new cultures and enjoy change and travel. Job opportunities in the field are extremely competitive and entry into the department is available through a structured graduate program.

Successful applicants into a graduate program often have postgraduate qualifications (ie. Honours, Masters), speak two or more languages, are well-traveled and have a history of involvement in clubs, associations or volunteer organisations.also assist in gaining entry into a graduate program.