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The Fix: Melissa Conley Tyler on “How to Rebuild Australia’s Diplomatic Capacity”

How Did We Reach the Figures?

The Fix
Yellow journal cover of AFA7 CHINA DEPENDENCE with dark purple writing and red shipping containers

This article is featured in Australian Foreign Affairs 7: China Dependence. To read the full issue subscribe or buy the issue.

How Did We Reach the Figures?

Claim: “Australia’s combined budget for diplomacy and aid has contracted from A$8.3 billion for the 2013–14 financial year (adjusted for inflation) to A$6.7 billion for 2019–20.” 

How We Got There: The figure for 2013–14 is drawn from pages 100–2 of Budget Paper No. 4 for the 2013–14 Federal Budget, which shows portfolio resourcing by agency. The figure $8.3 billion is the rounded version of the figure $8,331,547,000. This figure is derived by taking the total portfolio resourcing for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and subtracting the allocations for Tourism Australia, the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research and the Australian Secret Intelligence Agency, but not the allocations for AusAID and the Australian Trade and Investment Commission.
 

Agency Total resourcing
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade 1,697,733
AusAID 5,585,064
Australian Trade and Investment Commission 328,104
Total 7,610,901
Adjusted for inflation (2018) 8,331,547


The figure for 2019–20 is drawn from pages 71–3 of Budget Paper No. 4 for the 2019–20 Federal Budget, which shows portfolio resourcing by agency. The figure $6.7 billion is the rounded version of the figure $6,721,582,000. This figure is derived by taking the total portfolio resourcing for DFAT and subtracting the allocations for Tourism Australia, the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research and the Australian Secret Intelligence Agency, but not the allocation for the Australian Trade and Investment Commission.
 

Agency Total resourcing
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade 6,308,310
Australian Trade and Investment Commission 413,272
Total: 6,721,582


Claim: “The foreign aid budget is A$4 billion, down A$1 billion since 2013, and at its lowest point ever as a percentage of gross national income at 0.2 per cent.”

How We Got There: This was drawn directly from data and charts at Australian Aid Tracker.


Claim: “In 2017, Australia was ranked twentieth of twenty-nine among developed nations in the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) for its diplomatic resources. With 116 diplomatic missions abroad, Australia is below the OECD average of 132, and nowhere near the G20 average of 194. It is beaten by countries such as Portugal, Greece and Chile, which have smaller populations and less than 20 per cent of Australia’s GDP.”

How We Got There: Australia’s current rank among the OECD and G20 nations, as well as the averages in these leagues and the figures for Portugal, Greece and Chile, were provided by the Lowy Institute Diplomacy Index for 2017


Claim: “The ever-growing number of Australians travelling abroad has meant an increase in the proportion of funding allocated for passport applications and consular assistance (now 23 per cent of DFAT’s budget), at the cost of its broader diplomatic mission.”

How We Got There: The proportion is drawn from the DFAT Budget Statements for 2018–19. It is calculated by dividing the sum of programs 2.1 (Consular Resourcing) and 2.2 (Passport Services) against the sum of programs 1.1 (Foreign Affairs and Trade Operations), 1.5 (New Colombo Plan – Transforming Australia’s Relationships), 1.6 (Public Information Services and Public Diplomacy), 2.1, 2.2, 3.1 (Foreign Affairs and Trade Security and IT) and 3.2 (Overseas Property). This gives the equation 354,695,000 / 1,538,240,000 = 0.23, or 23 per cent.  
 

Outcome Resourcing
2.1: Consular Resourcing 107,225

2.2: Passport Services

247,470
Total: 354,695
1.1: Foreign Affairs and Trade Operations 830,346
1.5: New Colombo Plan 50,933
1.6: Public Information Services and Public Diplomacy 11,304
2.1: Consular Resourcing 107,225
2.2: Passport Services 247,470
3.1: Foreign Affairs and Trade Security and IT 262,579
3.2: Overseas Property 28,383
Total: 1,538,240

Claim: “In 1949, the combined diplomacy, trade and aid budget was almost 9 per cent of the federal budget, reducing to 3.2 per cent by 1969, 1.9 per cent by 1989, 1.5 per cent by 2009, then to the current 1.3 per cent.”


Table Notes: All figures are measured in millions of dollars, except the raw figures for 1948–49, which are measured in millions of pounds. Figures measured in pounds were adjusted from pounds to dollars using the RBA’s pre-decimal conversion tool. Figures were adjusted for inflation at 2018 using the RBA’s inflation calculator. The trade-related budget figure has been omitted from the 1988–89 line due to difficulties in isolating the figure from the related budget papers. The trade-related budget figure for 2009–10 onwards is the proportion of the DFAT portfolio allocation for the Australian Trade Commission.

Table Sources: (a) All figures in this line are drawn from archived budget papers for 1948–49, held by State Library Victoria. (b) Unless otherwise marked, all figures in this line are drawn from Parliamentary Paper No. 72 for 1969, “Report of the Auditor-General Accompanied by the Treasurer’s Statement of Receipts and Expenditure for Year 1968–69”, held by State Library Victoria. (c) This figure is drawn from Parliamentary Paper No. 127 for 1969, “Department of External Affairs Annual Report 1 July 1968 – 30 June 1969”, held by State Library Victoria. (d) This proportion was calculated by taking the total expenditure of the Department of External Affairs ($71,753,808) and subtracting from that the amount diverted to “International Development and Relief” ($37,602,590), resulting in the figure $34,151,218, which, divided by $6,513,900,000, is 0.0052, or 0.52 per cent. (e) All figures in this line are drawn from Budget Paper No. 3 for 1989–90, “Portfolio Program Estimates”, held by State Library Victoria. (f) This proportion was calculated by taking the total expenditure of the Department of Foreign Affairs ($1,490,500,000) and subtracting from that the amount allocated to “Program 2: Aid” ($1,146,314,000) and the amount allocated to the Australian Secret Intelligence Service ($17,026,000), resulting in the figure $327,160,000, which, divided by $87,127,900,000, is 0.0039, or .40 per cent. (g) All figures except the federal budget figure were drawn from the DFAT Portfolio Budget Statement for 2009–10. The federal budget figure is drawn from the Budget Overview Document for 2009–10. (h) All figures except the federal budget figure were drawn from the DFAT Portfolio Budget Statement for 2013–14. The federal budget figure is drawn from the Budget Overview Document for 2013–14. (i) All figures except the federal budget figure and aid funding were drawn from Budget Paper No. 4 for 2018–19, “Agency Resourcing”. The federal budget figure is drawn from the Budget Overview Document for 2018–19. (j) This figure is drawn from the DFAT Aid Budget Summary for 2019–20. (k) All figures except the federal budget figure and aid funding were drawn from Budget Paper No. 4 for 2019–20, “Agency Resourcing”. The federal budget figure is drawn from the Budget Overview Document for 2019–20. (l) This figure is drawn from the DFAT Aid Budget Summary for 2019–20.


Claim: “Australia can compare itself to other developed countries with similar-sized economies. Canada, for instance, spends 1.92 per cent of its national budget on diplomacy and aid; the Netherlands spends 4.33 per cent.” 

How We Got There:

Table Notes: All figures measured in millions. The figures for combined diplomatic and aid spending by the Netherlands were drawn from budget documents. The documents also supplied the total size of the government budget. The figure for aid spending was drawn from the OECD iLibrary. The figure for the diplomacy budget was determined by subtracting the OECD-calculated amount for foreign aid from the total allocated for “Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation”. The figures for Canada’s diplomatic spending were drawn from Global Affairs Canada Departmental Plan for 2018–19. The figure for aid spending was drawn from the OECD iLibrary. The figure for the total size of the Canadian federal budget was drawn from the 2018–19 Budget Paper


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This article has been created to accompany “The Fix” from AFA7 by Melissa Conley Tyler, “How to Rebuild Australia’s Diplomatic Capacity”. To read more click here.

 


Yellow journal cover of AFA7 CHINA DEPENDENCE with dark purple writing and red shipping containers

This is “The Fix” from Australian Foreign Affairs 7: China Dependence. To read the full issue subscribe or buy the issue.