Public Diplomacy In Australia History Essay

Published: 2021-07-20 08:30:07
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UNESCO Department in Intercultural and Interreligious Exchanges
"Public Diplomacy in Australia"
Student: Reghină Ciprian
Professor: Prof. Dr. Ionel Nicu Sava
Cultural Diplomacy
Public Diplomacy in Australia
A major political entity, globally and in the Asia-Pacific region, Australia has one of the finest reputations in the world. The Country Brands Index ranked in 2006 Australia as "the most marketable nation", after it measured the nations’ image using an analysis on different sectors; that projected a positive image for Australia around the world.
The world’s reaction, related to the nation’s intern and international policies, is owned to the public diplomacy initiatives. Comparing to other countries, like the United States and the United Kingdom, public diplomacy in Australia is a lower government priority. Despite its lower profile, public diplomacy is leading a lot of national projects and initiatives. The government affirmed in 1997 the importance of public diplomacy for the national interests:
"In its multilateral strategies, as in its regional and bilateral efforts, Australia’s international reputation is itself a factor in our capacity to advance Australian interests. An international reputation as a responsible, constructive and practical country is an important foreign policy asset" [1] .
The statement was reformulated with the speech of the former diplomat Kurk Coningham, who said in 2007: "If we cannot maintain a neutral to positive stance on a government’s sense of cooperation with Australia then we will fail…So [public diplomacy] really does matter – not just in a tree-hugging, feeling good about ourselves sense. It matters in achieving our international objectives, because that is in some ways subordinate to how people feel about Australia, whether it be neutral or positive. If it is negative, then we are not going to be able to achieve our objectives" [2] .
Australia is a high-developed country, recently nominated as the state with the highest quality of life (8,6/10) in the world. But Australia's population, like the most developed countries, is ageing in the last decades. This ageing is a result of the low fertility and the increasing life expectancy. The results are: fewer children (under the age of 15 years) and more people aged 65 years and over.
Based on the latest population projections, the number of inhabitants aged 65 years or more will exceed the number of children aged between 1 and 14 years around the year 2025. In other countries like Japan, Italy, Greece, this already happened.
In the last 20 years, the number of the old inhabitants (over 85 years and over) increased by 170.6%, and the number of centenarians (aged 100 years and over) increased by 185%, compared with the population growth of 30.9% for that period (1990 - 2010) [3] .
In the next table we can observe that the population of Australia follows a tendency of ageing. The number of children is lower comparing to the world’s average and it’s slightly decreasing. The number of inhabitants over 65 years, a bigger number (almost double) than the average number of the rest of the world, is increasing every year. Based on these calculations, it results that the median age, the age when half the population is younger and half is older, is increasing with almost 5 years at every 20 years.
Population age structure, International comparison [4] 
2010 - 2015
0-14 years (%)
15-64 years (%)
65+ years (%)
Median Age (years)
0-14 years (%)
15-64 years (%)
65+ years (%)
Median Age (years)
Total fertility rate (births rate)
Life expectancy rate (years)
In an evaluation of the status of Australia using a SWOT analysis, I would emphasize its Strengths: Democracy, Export Market, Natural Resource Abundance, Strong Banking System, Imports and Exports, Strong Communications Systems, High Quality of Life. [5] Opposed to these Strengths, I would consider that the main Threats would be the Unemployment Rate Increasing and the Ageing of the population. Both of these threats are concerning the economy. A higher unemployment rate causes Australian workers to have a smaller payment and they might reduce consumption. Changes in the labor market directly affect prospective clients for Australian growth, because the spending contributes to Australia’s GDP. Also, the ageing of the population leads to a decrease of the labor force participation so inevitably to decreasing of the GDP. Over the next several decades, the projection of population ageing will have major implications for Australia, including health, labor force participation, housing and demand for skilled labor.
These factors are influencing the state’s politics and diplomacy. The policy of the immigrations changed during last 50 years but there are still changes. In this essay I want to relate the Public Diplomacy of Australia with the national interests and the taking of the measures that are trying to prevent the main Threats of the country.
The theoretical concept would be that Diplomacy, especially Economic Diplomacy, is a tool for realizing national interests. The people’s actual interests can be systematized, with the assistance of the democratic regulations. In this way, the preliminaries of the sociopolitical stability in the country or the possibility of solving political, economic and social tasks must be realized as national interests on the international level.
"As a result, a compromising, rather than confrontational, view of the outside world is formed, while diplomacy acquires weightier arguments and is supported by public opinion. However, much here also depends on the country’s geo-economic position, the tasks it puts forward on the world arena and, to a great extent, the nature of the political structures and people in power" [6] .
The diplomacy of Australia started to exist since 1901, when Australia’s six states became a nation under a single constitution. Australia’s presence abroad was largely limited to state and Commonwealth agents and trade offices. Britain had a conservative role in Australia's foreign policy, limiting its missions abroad. As for the immigration policy, "The White policy" was functioning. The Government had the mission to "keep the state white". First restrictive laws were set in 1850 when the Chinese immigrants came for the gold fever. When the first federal government was elected, the candidates promised that the immigrant policy will restrict all the other races that weren’t white. But between 1929 and the end of the Second World War, the immigration was very low, determined only by some social and economic conditions. In 1939 there were only two External Affairs officers in function: one in London (known as Australia House), and one in Washington, attached to the British Embassy.
The Second World War needed increasing cooperation with the foreign countries that were independent of the British Foreign Office. Until 1940, four missions were established in London, Washington, Ottawa and Tokyo.
The position regarding the Immigration began to change during the Pacific War, when Australia, because of its low population, was very vulnerable. Different groups who militated in the favor of immigrations had slogans like: "Populate this area or we will die!" Actually these militants were still asking for the immigration of the white people, trying to prevent a future colonization of the continent by other races. During the war, a big number of immigrants, originating from other races than the white one, (people from Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines), sought for shelter in Australia, but they were refused by the minister of Immigration [7] .
Before 1949, the status of Australian citizen didn’t even exist, and people born in Australia were British citizens. The concept of Australian citizen was revealed in 1949 with the enactment of the Nationality and Citizenship Act from 1948, now known as the Australian Citizenship Act (since 2007). From that moment people born in Australia became Australian citizens.
The first measure against the immigrant restrictions was set in 1947, when the Australian Government allowed businessmen of any origin (not only European) to establish in the state. After that, in 1950, Asian students were allowed to study at the Australian Universities.
The main step against the restrictions of other races was in 1957, when residents of any origin who resided more than 15 years in the country were accorded the citizenship, after they passed a test of writing from dictation. In the following years the conditions of admission were simplified and reduced in present to a minimum residency of 3 years and a test of 20 questions about the responsibilities and the privileges of citizenship.
The diplomacy served the political and national interest by diminishing the restrictions for immigrants, facilitating investments, labor requirements and working conditions, by promoting the country as the best choice for finding a job or starting a business. Australian diplomacy is included in the roles of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT). This Department, as a Government Agency, lists public diplomacy as one of its primary functions, having as aims "to project a positive and accurate image of Australia internationally, to identify and counter misleading perceptions of Australia and to promote Australia’s foreign and trade policies to diverse audiences" [8] .
Its official projects and activities are programs that create a positive reputation for Australia and ensure that Australia’s international image is contemporary, dynamic and positive. The big number of people involved in this Department is important to underline the diplomatic relations with the other countries. In Australia, there are 137 Foreign Embassies, 117 Foreign Consulates and 9 International Organizations. And the number of the Australian Embassies, consulates, high commissions, multilateral missions and representative offices distributed worldwide is 275 (including the Canadian or Hungarian Embassies that are providing consular services to Australians) [9] .
DFAT’s work is applied by different divisions, Foundations, Councils or Institutes:
Australia International Cultural Council (AICC)
AICC considers the cultural exchanges as necessary instruments of diplomacy and manages activities that promote art and culture of Australia for international interests. The International Cultural Council is the most important diplomacy body of Australia. Cultural diplomacy wants to attract the public through the show-down of creative arts and cultural workshops so that the public can acknowledge more of Australia’s identity, values and policies.
The council itself is comprised of "representatives from government, the arts and culture community and business with a common interest in more effective international showcasing of Australian arts and culture." [10] Examples of this kind of projects are "the International Cultural Visits Program", which organizes visits to Australia by arts and media representatives from other countries, or "the Cultural Relations Discretionary Grant program", which finances volunteers or associations that are promoting a brighter image of Australia through their cultural activities.
The Australian Government is refreshing the Cultural Council to assure an approach to cultural diplomacy. Australia’s cultural thesaurus include: "film, theatre, dance, music, television, new media, visual arts, literature, cultural heritage and conservation services, design and architecture, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander arts, disability arts, multicultural arts, community arts and national collecting institutions". [11] 
Its objective is to promote Australia abroad, through arts and culture, and to make people’s links stronger through cultural exchanges and creative collaboration. Also it’s important to underline Australia as a stable, multicultural, sophisticated and creative nation with a diverse culture. Also Australia’s Indigenous art and culture can’t be ignored.
AICC has goals to coordinate programs that are promoting the positive image of Australia and the country’s abilities. The national interests for these programs are to make stronger the cultural relationships with the regional partners, to intensify market for Australian cultural exports, to strengthen business connections. The priority regions for Australia’s public diplomacy and foreign and trade policy would be Asia, South Pacific, Middle East, Africa, North and South America and Western Europe. [12] 
The Australian Trade Commission (Austrade) is the agency for trade, investment and education promotion, formerly known as "Invest Australia". It serves as the government’s intern investment agency, with a mission of attracting foreign investment that can support industry growth and development. Present in over 50 countries, Austrade helps domestic companies to develop their business on the international market, attracts investment into Australia, presents Australia’s education sector internationally and promotes Australia as an internationally investment destination. So its role is to provide information, advices and services in the interest of the international trades, investments or education.
The Commission’s mission is to:
"Help Australian companies to grow their business in international markets, including through administration of the Export Market Development Grants (EMDG) scheme and the TradeStart program.
Provide coordinated government assistance to attract and facilitate productive foreign direct investment (FDI) into Australia.
Promote the Australian education sector in international markets and assist Australian education providers with market information.
Provide advice to the Australian Government on its trade and investment policy agenda.
Deliver Australian consular, passport and other government services in designated overseas locations.
Manage the Building Brand Australia program to enhance awareness of contemporary Australian skills and capability and enrich Australia’s global reputation." [13] 
The agency’s programs include promotional activities, a worldwide advertising campaign or attendance at main international events. In 2003, for example, a global advertising campaign was launched, focusing on markets in the UK, US, Europe and Asia. The campaign had a "Did You Know" section, which highlighted motivating facts about investment in Australia. Certain characteristics were emphasized, such as "economic performance, a skilled and multicultural workforce, cost competitiveness, innovative culture, information and communication technology infrastructure, open and efficient regulatory environment and regional advantages" [14] .
To keep up with the recent changes, Austrade will have a new direction in the next years, as shown by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Craig Emerson, who assures that "more of Austrade's work will be undertaken in the world's frontier and emerging markets, where Australian businesses can benefit most from government support". [15] Austrade’s resources in North America and Europe will focus to attract more foreign investors. "Services to Australian business will be concentrated on those firms which are ready to tackle the challenges of the international marketplace. But Austrade will continue its important role in promoting Australia's education and training capabilities in all major markets" [16] .
Tourism Australia
Tourism Australia is an Australian Government Agency responsible for promoting the nation as the first choice for a travel destination, using advertising campaigns or marketing activities. It targets potential customers or it provides marketing resources to industry and corporations. International visitors must be attracted to Australia and Australians must be encouraged to travel locally, for leisure or for business. This organization is active in about 30 markets and its activities include advertising, researches, trade shows and industry programs, PR and media programs, customer promotions and online announcements. Its outcome must increase the choosing of Australia as a destination and to develop the tourism industry.
So the mission of Tourism Australia is to stimulate the international and local demand for Australian tourism using industry initiatives and coordination and to influence the activities of the industry’s tourism and voyage marketing. Their official objectives are:
"•To influence people to travel to Australia, including for events; 
• To influence people travelling to Australia to also travel throughout Australia; 
• To influence Australians to travel throughout Australia, including for events; 
• To help foster a sustainable tourism industry in Australia; and 
• To help increase the economic benefits to Australia from tourism." [17] .
To accomplish these objectives, they are promoting a clear destination marketing strategy, a compelling tourism destination brand, they facilitate sales by supporting the distribution network, they support the development of the Indigenous tourism experiences, they are communicating market insights for improved decision making and they collaborate with partners who can extend Tourism Australia’s influence.
Building Brand Australia Program
In 2009 the Australian Government hosted a sequence of talks concerning the importance of Australia’s worldwide representation for exporters and the methods in which industry may profit, redesigning Brand Australia. Those discourses led to a commitment of $20 million for 4 years for the Building Brand Australia Program. This is a government initiative managed by Austrade - the agency who promotes Australian trade, investment and education. The purpose of the Program was to build a learning base, activities and strategies that can be used to grow Australia’s reputation in time. Positioning Australia as a world-class business partner with a portfolio of commercial, intellectual and creative accreditations supports Australian companies who seek for international consumers, investors or students, and also supports economy and culture.
Its strategy is to promote the nation’s commercial, intellectual and creative credentials, using the digital content platforms and the help of Australia’s exporters, internationally business leaders, the emigrants’ community and the graduates from around the world. "The idea is to present meaningful, contemporary Australian stories in an engaging way. The focus is on Australia’s greatest asset. Not our beaches, but our people at home and abroad" [18] .
About 200 stories were published presenting the work of Australian scientists, designers, entrepreneurs, artists, humanitarians and businessmen that are reflecting Australia’s link with the world. They share their stories through this platform so that the reputation of the country spreads on the other continents.
As a cultural change, a new cultural policy was proposed, that sets the beliefs on the importance of arts and culture: "The arts and creative industries are fundamental to Australia's identity as a society and nation, and increasingly to our success as a national economy […] The policy will be based on an understanding that a creative nation produces a more inclusive society and a more expressive and confident citizenry" [19] . The changes are in the benefit of the students but in the national interest. For example: "Research shows that arts education encourages academic achievement and improves students’ self-esteem, leading to more positive engagement with school and the broader community and higher school retention rates" that is why "the new national curriculum will ensure that young Australians have access to learning in the creative arts" [20] .
AICC, with its role to advice the Government on cultural diplomacy, has a major interest in the cultural diplomacy programs proposed by DFAT. For example, between 16 October 2012 and 6 February 2013, DFAT is running a cultural festival, Oz Fest, across India, as a focus country program. This festival presents the creativity, dynamism and diversity of Australia in workshops and presentations about Australian music, art, food, films, literature, dance, comedy and sport. Major cultural promotions this year and in future years will be held in Vietnam, Indonesia, Turkey, Brazil (2013 - 2016) [21] .
Previously, focus country/region promotions have been presented, between 2001 and 2012, in: United States, Germany and China, Germany and Japan, South-East Asia, Singapore, United Kingdom and India, France and Malaysia, Indonesia and Republic of Korea.
All these activities and programs are very important for accomplishing the objectives planned by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. After all these applied measures, there are partial results and in the future the effects will be satisfactorily.
The modal age, the age of most of the people at a certain time, was for Australia at 30 June 2010 the age of 25 years (340,000 people). And Tasmania’s and South Australia’s modal age was 49 years, corresponding to the emigration of the young people from these states. This means that the changes in Australia’s Diplomacy, the new direction to attract foreign students for education or young families for employment is working. In conclusion, Australia’s threats must be prevented as quickly as possible and the work of Public Diplomacy (mostly imposed by the politics) in serving the national interests will have great results. Today Australia is the home of the people originating from more than 200 countries.

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