Monday 26 Sep 2022 | 04:38 | SYDNEY
Monday 26 Sep 2022 | 04:38 | SYDNEY

Reader riposte: Aussie e-diplomacy


Fergus Hanson


30 November 2010 10:20

Scott Smith from the US State Department has written in with this response to the e-diplomacy paper I launched last week, pointing out that other areas of the Australian Government (with whom he worked three years ago) are advanced users of digital technology. 

...I should give a shout out to my Aussie mates who provided some excellent leadership, loosely in this field.

I want to cite two programs I encountered with APEC that benefitted from leadership from your Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs.

The APEC Business Travel Card (ABTC) was heralded as the only APEC deliverable one could put in one's pocket. To my mind, it was also an amazing leap (from talking about best practices) to operationalizing regional cooperation. Aside from any assessment of program costs/benefits, it models a way of cooperating to serve the regional community that I think is very powerful.

The Regional Movement Alert System (RMAS) was a clever and innovative solution to a problem others had been unable to solve. It took the concept behind Interpol's database of lost and stolen passports (expensive, unwieldy, inaccessible) and developed a neat little solution to bypass national privacy and legal concerns which are unavoidable in compiling an international database. Instead, each participating economy maintains their own system/database, and a little information broker routes requests against the respective database, so there are no access issues and only a small package of information actually moves across borders. As a result, the tool is available not only to immigration inspectors but can be queried by airline staff at passenger check-in.

I believe we are doing some really interesting work here, but I'd also like to tip my hat to my Aussie friends who were also doing pretty cool things.