Foreign Policy White Paper: Maximising our influence in a changing world

secretary-frances-adamson-thumb By Frances Adamson, Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade


From left to right: White Paper Taskforce Head Richard Maude, Secretary Frances Adamson & Professor Rory Medcalf at the launch of the Foreign Policy White Paper public consultation process.

Australia has achieved great success in a world underpinned by US leadership, economic openness and global rules. That world appears to be under pressure. But I believe it is not broken.

At the same time as the developed world struggles to emerge from the great recession, countries that were once poor are continuing to prosper, especially in the Indo-Pacific, bringing opportunities for their own people and for their partners.

In the developing world, there is dynamism and progress, as well as optimism about the future. Overall, it’s a complex picture: risks on the one hand and opportunities on the other.  Like others, I can see challenges confronting some traditional partners. I also sense energy, drive and opportunity in other places.

The Australian Government is calling for public submissions as it prepares the Foreign Policy White Paper. Submissions close 28 February, 2017. Visit to learn more.

The government is alert to the challenge of a changing world and is pressing ahead with economic reforms to ensure the domestic foundations of our country remain strong and resilient.  The Foreign Policy White Paper, to be published later this year, will set out the government’s long-term international agenda so Australia is positioned to seize the opportunities, to manage the risks and to maximise our influence in a changing world.

The White Paper will be based on a full and robust process of consultation with the public. I am committed to DFAT seeking views outside the mainstream (always a challenge for government) even as we talk to our partners in think tanks, business, state governments and the NGO community.

The White Paper is an opportunity for DFAT and others in government to join a conversation about Australia’s place in the world. In the face of uncertainty, and at a time of significant economic opportunity, I urge all Australians to work with us to ensure our country continues to be safe, prosperous and influential.

I encourage all interested individuals and organisations to submit their views before the deadline on 28 February.


Frances Adamson was appointed Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade on 22 July 2016. She took up the position in Canberra on 25 August 2016. Prior to her appointment as Secretary, Ms Adamson was International Adviser to the Australian Prime Minister the Hon Malcolm Turnbull MP from November 2015. From 2011 to 2015 Ms Adamson was Australia’s Ambassador to the People’s Republic of China.

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