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OUTPUT 3.1: Public information services and public diplomacy

Output 3.1 Quality and quantity information

Quality indicators

Quantity indicators

Satisfaction with public diplomacy

Mr Vaile highly praised the content and design of the department's public affairs kit Australia—Trading with the world, distributed widely in Australia and internationally. Mr Vaile expressed similar satisfaction with arrangements for a media briefing at the International Media Centre (IMC) in Sydney on the informal meeting of WTO trade ministers in Sydney in November 2002, attended by 35 Australian and international media visitors.

Philip Flood, chairman of the Australia–Indonesia Institute (AII), praised the IMC for the quality of the program it arranged for a visit to Australia by a group of senior Indonesian editors sponsored by the AII. Mr Flood noted that these visits were an important opportunity to expose influential Indonesian opinion-makers to representatives of government, business and the media, as well as respected social commentators, and thus to encourage more accurate reporting on Australia.

A number of posts expressed enthusiasm for our public affairs kit, and our posts in Beijing and Tokyo distributed local language versions to target audiences by email. Attached agencies were also satisfied with the kit as a tool for their outreach work.

Cultural activities

The department's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander program was praised in the northern, Kimberley and Arnhem Aboriginal artists' newsletter for its role in developing the Kiripuranji Indigenous art exhibition. The newsletter said the exhibition was 'a fantastic initiative, which allows not only the visual images of a rich and diverse culture to be seen, but the voices of the Tiwi Islander people to be heard across the world.'

Our Australia International Cultural Council (AICC) Celebrate Australia 2002 initiative was praised by arts organisations for raising Australia's cultural profile in China. The event attracted high-level government attendance, 70 media articles and 400 minutes of local television coverage, raising Australia's profile in the sophisticated Shanghai market.

Demand from overseas posts for places in our Cultural Awards Scheme continued to be high, reflecting its value as an effective public diplomacy tool. Scheme visits resulted in a range of significant outcomes, including:


Mr Downer commended the report Globalisation: Keeping the gains and highlighted its findings in several of his domestic and international presentations.

Mr Vaile congratulated the department on the release of its reports China embraces the world market and Connecting with Asia's tech future: ICT export opportunities when he launched them in Melbourne in November 2002.

Freedom of information requests

The department met its obligations under the reporting requirements of sections 8 and 9 of the Act. We were asked to make five internal reviews of decisions under the provisions of section 54 of the Act. One request was for a review of the decision to levy a fee and charges and four requested a review of the exemption of documents or parts of documents. One application was made to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) in accordance with section 55 of the Act. One appeal to the AAT from 2001–02 has yet to be heard. For further reporting on the department's Freedom of Information arrangements and activities, see Appendix 5.

Quantity information for output 3.1
Indicators 2002–03 2001–02
Number of Australian performing groups, artists, exhibitors and other cultural visitors supported 1 616 1 687
Number of public briefings given by departmental staff in Australia and overseas 2 517 3 073
Number of other public diplomacy/cultural activities organised 1 608 1 427
Number of media-related enquiries handled by the media liaison section1 15 250 8 250
Number of visits organised under:
International Media Program2 42 68
Special Visits Program 31 37
Cultural Awards Scheme 21 15
Number of publications produced and number of copies distributed3 419 403
Number of statistical services provided to external clients 8 805 7 400
Number of treaties maintained on, and added to, the international treaties database4 2 659 2 629
Number of Freedom of Information requests processed 63 56
Number of records assessed for international relations sensitivities before release under the Archives Act 1983 and number of completed requests for archival information5 824 1 616
  1. This figure reflects a large number of inquiries following the Bali bombings and the SARS virus outbreak.
  2. A number of media visits scheduled in 2002–03 did not eventuate because of SARS and the international security situation. Additionally, the higher figure in the previous year included about 30 media journalists who were assisted by the department but who were not funded under the IMV program.
  3. The department produces publications available to the public in hard copy, on CD-ROM or on our website. Approximately 1.8 million copies of publications were printed in hard copy during 2002–03. Details of publications produced or updated during the year in review are at www.dfat.gov.au.
  4. For information on treaties, see the Australian Treaties Database at www.info.dfat.gov.au/treaties.
  5. The figure reflects the variability of public requests for access to departmental records and a lower number of such requests in 2002–03.


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Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Annual Report 2002–2003
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