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Protocol Guidelines

3. Diplomatic missions, consular posts and other representative offices

All diplomatic missions in Australia are located in Canberra, the national capital and seat of the federal government. Diplomatic missions cannot have 'branches' outside Canberra; their accredited staff must reside in Canberra. Diplomatic staff may perform consular functions throughout Australia, regardless of the existence of any consular post or its jurisdiction.

In certain circumstances, the Department will consider proposals by missions to co-locate their official premises, on the understanding that physical co-location in no way indicates that the missions concerned are less than independent offices with their own identities, agendas and operations. Co-location does not connote joint or mutual or shared representation.

All consular posts are located in major centres – usually capital cities (outside the Australian Capital Territory). There are no consular posts in Canberra. Consular posts are headed and staffed either by career consular officers or by honorary consuls, but not a combination.

The size of missions and posts should be kept within reasonable and normal limits, having regard to their operational needs.

Several agencies of the United Nations and other international organisations maintain offices in Canberra and other Australian capital cities. The status of these offices and their staff derive from sources other than the Vienna Conventions. Nevertheless, much of the advice in these guidelines applies equally to them.

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