On June 30, Australia’s 14-year participation in, and leadership of, the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI) concludes.

In 2015, thousands of fishermen from Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos were found on islands in Maluku province in Indonesia. These men had been trafficked into servitude, worked in inhumane conditions on fishing boats, and were then left stranded, without the means to care for themselves or return home.

The AFP plays an essential role in shaping and delivering the Australian Government’s international engagement agenda.  Our international activities are critical to ensuring the safety of Australia and its people. 

On a rainy day in May, a delegation of Latin American Ministers, diplomats and journalists exchanged the cool climes of Perth’s CBD for the expansive, blue skies and iconic red dirt of the Pilbara region. The new WA Minister for Mines and Petroleum, Bill Johnston MLA, joined them, as did our Ambassadors to Latin America and DFAT officers from Canberra and the WA State Office.

I was struck by the beauty of the country and the determination of its people. Some of my ancestors sailed from Scotland to be missionaries in the Pacific, and I can see why they thought they had arrived in the Garden of Eden.

I met Fadila on a field visit with the World Food Programme (WFP) to an informal settlement in Akkar Lebanon, a stone’s throw from Syria, divided only by a small mountain range.

DFAT has been on quite a journey over the past 20 years. We now have a growing cadre of highly skilled and motivated Indigenous officers who are advancing Australia’s national interests at home and abroad.