Australian sports diplomacy strategy launched with a strong message of partnership

Minister for Foreign Affairs , Marise Payne launched Australia’s Sports Diplomacy strategy with a strong message of partnership, pictured above with expert panel members, Professor Caitlin Byrne (Director, Griffith Asia Institute) and, Associate Professor Stuart Murray (Bond University). Photo supplied.
Hon Anne Ruston, Assistant Minister for International Development, Petero Civoniceva Australian former professional rugby league footballer, Hon Marise Payne, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Hon Bridget McKenzie, Minister of Sport. Image credit DFAT/Mark Graham

Last week Senators Marise Payne (Minister for Foreign Affairs), Senator Bridget McKenzie (Minister for Regional Services, Sport, Local Government & Decentralisation), and Senator Anne Ruston (Assistant Minister for International Development and the Pacific) launched Sports Diplomacy 2030, outlining the soft power value of sport.

In 2015 Australia became a world-first in bringing sport and diplomacy together as a means to a series of foreign policy ends. The first strategy achieved significant wins for Australia in advancing its national interests both at home and abroad. It established sporting linkages and development programs across the Indo-Pacific. Sports Diplomacy 2030 builds on these existing successes.

The strategy’s renewal process was headed by an expert panel comprising GAI Director Professor Caitlin Byrne, Associate Professor Stuart Murray (Bond University) and Associate Professor Emma Sherry (Swinburne University). Through national consultations with sporting organisations, athletes and industry stakeholders, Sports Diplomacy 2030 showcases the role that sport plays in advancing Australia’s influence, relationships and reputation both regionally and abroad, while also maximising outcomes for the sporting industry.

Sports Diplomacy 2030 prioritises four main objectives: empowering Australian athletes and sports codes to represent us globally, including Asia and the Indo-Pacific; encouraging Australian sports codes to build links with our neighbours in the region; maximising the tourism and investment opportunities from sport; and using sport to strengthen communities in the Indo-Pacific.

The renewed strategy reaffirms the value of Australian sport as an important diplomatic asset in the region.