A well-funded DFAT is needed to promote Australia's interests.


Research by Asialink shows continuing under-investment in Australia's diplomatic capacity, with funding for DFAT at a low 1.3% of the federal budget. Conley Tyler continues her argument that we are not investing enough in diplomacy and quotes former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd saying, 'Given the vast continent we occupy, the small population we have and our unique geostrategic circumstances, our diplomacy must be the best in the world'. Since 2001, the Defence budget has increased by 291%, ASIO by 528% and ASIS by 578%. Tyler argues that DFAT's current funding does not allow it to meet current foreign policy challenges. These challenges include keeping Australian travellers safe from terrorism and other threats; the promotion of Australian business; and trying to influence other nations regarding decisions that are likely to impact on Australians. These in turn have implications for the application of military power in times of crisis.