April 29th 2006

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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY: Taking stock of the wheat scandal

EDITORIAL: Watering Australia: a national priority

BORDER PROTECTION: Why Australia needs naval, air force bases in Torres Strait

NATIONAL SECURITY: Lives endangered by latest intelligence leaks

ENVIRONMENTALISM: How the Great Barrier Reef is mismanaged

STRAWS IN THE WIND: Labor misses the bus / All is vanity / Kosovo's mafia / When the bills come in / Open season on Christianity

REGIONAL ECONOMIC POLICY: The end of international economic cooperation? (Part 2)

PERU: Latest Latin American country to turn left

SCHOOLS: The choice so few parents can afford

MEDIA: ABC's Easter assault on Christianity

THE WEST AND ISLAM: No alternative but to defend our values

Social cost of unfettered capitalism (letter)

Robert Manne's media critique defended (letter)

Why have a Department of Foreign Affairs? (letter)

CINEMA: Caped crusader for the know-nothing left: V for Vendetta

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Why have a Department of Foreign Affairs? (letter)

by Marcus L'Estrange

News Weekly, April 29, 2006

After Minister Downer's appearance at the AWB inquiry, I'm still not sure why we have a Department of Foreign Affairs at all, unless it really exists only to be a job-creation scheme for its own middle to senior management.

Policy is handed down from on high (Washington). Our Minister for Foreign Affairs is either a "yes minister" or a minister who seriously believes in having two contradictory foreign policies - one for the farmers and one for the rest of us.

The department's consular activities (passports, tourists in trouble, etc.) could be contracted out to the Brits who have more missions around the world than we do and already deputise for us in many countries.

Money saved could be better spent on real foreign aid rather than subsidising tyrants like Saddam Hussein. The small amount left over should be spent on a training college for ministers to understand the difference between "real ministers" and "yes ministers".

Marcus L'Estrange,
St Kilda, Vic.

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