Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (Australia)

Department Of Foreign Affairs And Trade (Australia)

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Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (Australia)

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The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) is a department of the government of Australia charged with advancing the interests of Australia and its citizens internationally. It manages the Government's foreign relations and trade policies, and is responsible to the ministers for Foreign Affairs and Trade.

The department is headquartered in the Canberra suburb of Barton, near Parliament House.


The department finds its origins in two of the seven original Commonwealth Departments established following Federation: the Department of Trade and Customs and the Department of External Affairs, headed by Harry Wollaston and Atlee Hunt respectively.

Until the Second World War, Australia's status as a dominion of the British Empire then realm in the then British Commonwealth meant its foreign relations were mostly defined by the United Kingdom. During this time, Australia's overseas activities were predominately related to trade and commercial interests, while its external affairs were concerned mostly with immigration, exploration and publicity. The department was abolished on 14 November 1916 and its responsibilities were undertaken by the Prime Minister's Department and the Department of Home and Territories. It was re-established on 21 December 1921.

The political and economic...
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