Saturday 28 Mar 2020 | 15:03 | SYDNEY
Saturday 28 Mar 2020 | 15:03 | SYDNEY

Reader riposte: DFAT needs reform, not expansion


Sam Roggeveen


11 June 2008 13:12

Carl Ungerer writes:

The real question is not ‘how can DFAT be expected to run an expansionist foreign policy agenda with a declining budget?’ but rather, ‘what reforms are necessary within DFAT to achieve the government’s objectives?’ Our diplomatists seemed shocked that one of their own wants them to work harder and smarter. This shock is compounded by the fact that after a decade of inaction, they are now required to produce tangible foreign policy outcomes. Spare a thought for our poor arms controllers who will be expected to do something creative on nuclear non-proliferation. For more than a decade, the arms control branch in DFAT has had very little on its plate. Aside from the ill-fated Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, which the former Minister triumphantly waved around in New York in 1996, only to see it promptly killed by the US and others, our arms controllers have had nothing to negotiate. Indeed, we have very few senior officials left in DFAT with the required corporate memory to bring some real policy clout to the nuclear arms control debate. Maybe we should be trying to coax some these individuals back to the fold. Kim, Paul, Martine, and the Black Prince – your country needs you.