Australia maintains foreign relations through high commissions and embassies with New Zealand, the United Kingdom, many Commonwealth countries and other countries particularly developed countries and emerging economies. Functioning and operating under the auspices of the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), the goal of most of these embassies is “advancing the interests of Australia and Australians internationally.” DFAT, together with its missions overseas, tackles international issues such as counter-terrorism (analysis, protection, response and resilience), people-smuggling and human trafficking (promotion of the Bali Process), trade and the environment (recent Doha round of the WTO) and protection of and reaction to aboriginal issues (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Program). Australia is a member of the United Nations and has permanent missions in Vienna, Geneva and New York.
Australia, specifically the Australian Capital Territory (ACT)and the capital city Canberra, is host to about 240 foreign embassies and consulates. There are many representative embassies of Commonwealth countries, ASEAN nations, South Pacific Island States and all the developed countries. China, Japan and the United States, all with embassies in the ACT, are Australia’s most important economic trade partners and have established or are negotiating free trade agreements. France and Australia have a cordial history stretching back 150 years. The French Embassy, which has represented French interests in Australia for most of that time, has been involved for many years in not only political and strategic ways but scientific, cultural and education exchanges. Currently there are 200 cooperation agreements between French and Australian Universities.
Australia has over 150 embassies, consulates and missions in over 90 countries and territories all over the world. Australia maintains permanent missions with the UN in Geneva in Switzerland, New York in the United States of America, and Vienna in Austria. Australia has devoted particular attention to relations between developed and developing nations, with embassies and high commissions in ten countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and in the island states of the South Pacific. Australia maintains a working relationship with Canadian embassies in several countries to allow for visa and foreign national consular services for Australian citizens. Embassies and other foreign missions can be contacted for information on consular matters such as visas, passports and travel.