Thursday 19 Jul 2018 | 02:21 | SYDNEY
Thursday 19 Jul 2018 | 02:21 | SYDNEY

Reader riposte: Finding diplomats

27 May 2010 14:58

In his column last Friday about Australia's diplomats, Graeme Dobell said that 'secretary of Foreign Affairs from 1973-6, Alan Renouf, argued to the Royal Commission on Government Administration that Australia should legislate for a separate foreign service, distinct from the rest of the public service'.

Chris Wheeler responds:

I have wondered for some time if the appropriate response isn't the opposite of Renouf's. The international perspective is now much more important to (almost) all areas of government and we need to get that perspective embedded in all those other areas of government.

One approach might be to select our diplomats from across the public service, especially at the SES level. This would give those people a much greater international perspective which they would then bring back to their domestic departments and help lift their game. As a secondary benefit it would also mean our diplomats would know more about Australia. (Too many spend such swags of time away that the Australia they seek to represent is one from the past.)