Students centre of foreign policy roundtable

February 3, 2017

Sir Walter Murdoch School students at the DFAT White Paper Youth Roundtable

Sir Walter Murdoch School students at the DFAT White Paper Youth Roundtable

Several current and former Sir Walter Murdoch School students recently participated in an invitation-only roundtable – the only one of its kind in Australia – on the new Foreign Policy White Paper.

The White Paper is a comprehensive framework to guide Australia’s international engagement over the next 10 years. To ensure that the White Paper is informed by the best possible advice, the Government has convened a series of roundtable discussions with interested stakeholders.

The Sir Walter Murdoch School, together with the University of Western Australia and the Australian Institute of International Affairs, hosted the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) Foreign Policy White Paper Youth Roundtable.

Masters of International Affairs and Security students Lindsay Barnes, Jake Davis, and Luke O’Donnell joined Murdoch alumni Darcy Rowe (now working with the federal Department of Immigration and Border Protection) and Krystal Hartig (now at the Perth USAsia Centre) to contribute to the White Paper discussions, along with students from other universities and prominent young professionals in the field.

Lindsay Barnes said the White Paper consultation gave him a valuable glimpse into the world of foreign policy development, which was incredibly valuable, both personally and from a policy standpoint.

“To be part of a discussion about Australian foreign policy with some of the best and brightest young people in international affairs was pretty special,” he said.

“The youth of today are tomorrow’s diplomats and hopefully by hearing our opinions and recommendations the White Paper will be all the better for it.

“On a personal level, I'm hopeful this experience will be beneficial to my employment prospects in the future.”

The kinds of questions the students grappled with ranged from how can Australia maximise our trade and investment and expand commercial opportunities for Australian business; to how can Government best use Australia’s national assets, including our overseas development assistance program, to advance Australia’s interests?

The Roundtable also featured contributions from senior academics, and was chaired by Richard Maude, head of the taskforce that has been established within the DFAT to develop the White Paper.

This will be Australia’s first foreign policy White Paper since 2003.

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