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1301.0 - Year Book Australia, 2008  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 07/02/2008   
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Contents >> International Relations >> Australia's credentials and place in the international system


Australia is an independent and outward-looking nation actively involved in international affairs. Australia has close links with Europe and North America as well as a record of active engagement in Asia and the Pacific.

Australia is a stable, democratic society with a skilled workforce and a strong, competitive economy - real gross domestic product (GDP) has grown by an annual average of 3.5% over the past decade. A large part of Australia’s prosperity is based on international trade and investment. One in five Australian jobs depends on exports; one in four jobs in regional Australia depends on exports.

Australia’s cultural diversity, record of constructive international engagement, strong political institutions and liberal democratic values inform its involvement in world affairs.

Role of DFAT in Australia's international relations

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) is the principal source of advice to the Australian Government on foreign and trade policy issues, and is responsible for implementing the Government’s foreign and trade policies. The Department works to achieve four primary outcomes to advance the interests of Australia and Australians internationally:

  • that Australia’s national interests are protected and advanced through contributions to international security, national economic and trade performance, and global cooperation;
  • that Australians are informed about, and provided access to, consular and passport services in Australia and overseas;
  • that public understanding in Australia and overseas of Australia’s foreign and trade policy and a positive image of Australia internationally are enhanced; and
  • that the Commonwealth overseas-owned estate is efficiently managed.

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