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.

As part of Australia’s commitment to greater recognition of human rights, our embassies in the Mekong are working with governments and civil society to promote rights for LGBTI people.

With huge smiles, the business people I met shared exciting plans for attracting inward investment and driving local exports into new markets. I had come to talk about the importance of expanding trade with South East Asia but they were ahead of me and had so much to share.

Understanding and recognising the uniqueness of our individual differences is what makes our communities and countries strong, inclusive and progressive.

A White Paper may sound bureaucratic and complicated but getting it right can make a real difference to Australia’s security and prosperity.

We do right now have an extraordinarily challenging role in mapping out the ‘known’ and ‘unknown unknowns’ confronting Australia’s national and international interests. Harder than anything else I can remember in my time in the job.

DFAT is recruiting now for the 2018 graduate program. We are looking for graduates to work in policy – foreign policy, trade, development – and in corporate management areas such as human resources, consular, and financial management. Applications close on 26 March.