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.

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.

As Australia’s Ambassadors converge on Canberra for the very first Global Heads of Mission Meeting or GHOMM, we are poised to make a meaningful contribution to Australia’s Foreign Policy White Paper.

Overall, it is a privilege to serve Australia abroad. There is never a day that I don’t marvel at the extraordinary role as well as the responsibilities I have been given. This spurs me to work hard and smart to make Australia proud.

In a few days, I will be joining over 100 of Australia’s Ambassadors, High Commissioners and Consuls-General in Canberra for DFAT’s Global Heads of Mission Meeting – where my fellow Ambassadors and I have been tasked to think about how to best position our country in an increasingly uncertain and fractious world.

Australia is about to hold an historic meeting of the country’s best diplomatic minds. At this meeting, Australia’s ambassadors, high commissioners and consuls-general overseas will attempt to devise a durable strategy for Australia’s future international engagement at one of the most unpredictable and possibly transformational moments of our modern era. It is in our interest that they succeed.