Part 1 – Organisation Profile
Currently, I am studying my last semester of a Bachelor of Laws and a Bachelor of Business, majoring in International trade. Upon graduation I will complete my practical legal training at either the College of Law or Leo Cussons, and then hopefully be admitted to practice as a solicitor. As the legal profession is extremely competitive (Van Zandt 2009), I have not secured a graduate placement as yet, however I trust that when I am admitted to practice gaining employment will be easier.
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Among the first seven government departments founded when Australia federated in 1901, being the Department of Trade and Customs and the Department of External Affairs (DFAT 2013) were the two departments established the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) in 1987 (Harris 2002, p.223). Broadly speaking, DFAT’s mission is to “advance the interests of Australia and Australians internationally” (DFAT 2013) by strengthening security and enhancing prosperity (DFAT 2013). I have always been keenly interested in international travel and learning languages, therefore working in an organisation which is chiefly responsible for maintaining Australia’s interests abroad seems like a perfect career fit for me.
DFAT has “attached a high priority to the health, safety and welfare of its employees” (DFAT 2012, p. 215). The 1 January 2012 heralded the introduction of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (Cth), which was enacted to maintain standards and promote a healthy environment for employees in the public sector. DFAT has ensured that both their domestic and international employees have been trained concerning the new requirements of the legislation (DFAT 2012, p. 215.
The values sited by DFAT are dictated by section 10 of the Public Services Act 1999, which particularises the following values; (as being) committed to service, ethical, respectful, accountable and impartial. The department also seeks to minimise its environmental impact on the planet by implementing environmental management practices, complying with legal requirements and reducing energy consumption and the emission of greenhouse gases (Richardson 2012). Section 10A of the Public Service Act 1999 (Cth) outlines that DFAT provides a place of work where discrimination and favouritism are absent (s 10A(1)(f)), and conversely promote flexibility, safety and recognition of achievement (s 10A(1)(e)).
Due to DFAT being a government department a bureaucratic style of leadership would be expected. Bureaucratic leaders are denoted by the strict adherence to rule and procedures (Mind Tools n.d.). This type of leadership can be criticised for being inefficient (Mind Tools n.d.), however modern organisations and indeed government departments attempt to implement democratic leadership also which allows for an adequate amount of flexibility, allowing greater participation from employees in decision making process (Kippenberger 2002). Both of these styles of leadership are conducive to the way in which I like to work, as I find it beneficial to know the parameters of my job, however knowing that my voice will be heard allows me to feel of use to the organisation.
Being a federal government department, DFAT is based primarily in Canberra. However, they have additional offices in other states and territories of Australia, as well as 95 overseas posts in five continents (DFAT 2013) and 17 international consulates (DFAT 2013). Working in a government department which is over growing importance now and into the future will most likely lead to higher job security than in the private sector. This would be of high importance to me primarily due to the fact that if I would most likely have to relocate from Victoria to Canberra if I was a successful applicant with DFAT.
DFAT has high expectations from their staff, primarily due to the fact that the department and its officers are dealing in international relations and the like, therefore upholding a professional manner will not tarnish Australia’s international persona. Employment opportunities are vast with DFAT. As briefly explained previously, there are both local and international prospects available to the right candidate
The staffing practices and recruitment process for DFAT is extremely competitive, and thresholds which must be met by prospective employees are high. Governments have a reputation for only employing the ‘best of the best’, which seems to be evidenced by the staffing practices of DFAT. It is explained on the DFAT website that there officers are “highly skilled at their work” (DFAT 2013), and are usually fluent in languages other than English (DFAT 2013). Further, it is stated in the Public Services Act (1999 Cth) once employed by DFAT you are considered an “ongoing APS employee” (s 10A(1)(b)), this evidences the longevity of careers at the department which is of high importance to be. DFAT offer two styles of graduate programs; the Policy Graduate Program and the Corporate Graduate Program (DFAT n.d.). However, due to the type of degree I am studying the Policy Graduate Program would be more suited to my skills. The program is two years in duration, which includes work placements, formal training and regional travel (DFAT 2012). The applications for the 2015 program will open in February 2014, the recruitment process commences with an online application followed by a series of cogitative tests, then if successful an applicant will be asked to attend an interview in Canberra, then finally successful applicants will receive phone offers (DFAT n.d.).
From the research I have conducted concerning DFAT I am of the opinion that both my study and personal career goals fit well with the organisation as a whole. I want a long term career with job security and the chance to progress to higher positions in the future, DFAT seems to tick these boxes with added advantages such as international travel and deployment.
Due to the high thresholds which have to be met in order to gain employment I will put myself in a better position to be considered for a graduate position next year if I set a few goals to be achieve before applying next year. Firstly, I will gain experience in an international law firm in the near future, demonstrating my interest in the area. Secondly, I will also attempt to learn and have a reasonable understanding of Mandarin or French, as these languages are among the most widely spoken in the world.
Part 2 – Leader Profile
There is a plethora of inspirational and successful women in Australia who are in the public eye. We are in the dawn of an age where women are achieving firsts, both in business and politics. Australia saw its first female Prime Minister in 2010 (Brennan 2011 p.40), and swore in its first female Governor General, being Quentin Bryce in 2008 (The Australian Women’s Register 2009). This series of events has emphasised the growing impact women have on the world, therefore allowing the aspirations of young women to be higher than generations before.
Ms Bryce was born in Brisbane on 23 December 1942, and spent her childhood in a small rural town in Central Western Queensland (Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia 2013). High educational aspirations saw Ms Bryce graduate from the University of Queensland with a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Laws in 1965 were she would later become a lecturer and tutor, and be the first woman admitted to the Queensland Bar (Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia 2013). Other notable achievements in Ms Bryce’s career to date have been;
- Convenor of the National Women’s Advisory council,
- Inaugural director of the Queensland Women’s Information Service and Office of the Status of Women
- Director of the Equal Opportunity Commission Queensland
- Federal Sex Discrimination Commissioner
- Founding Chair and CEO of the National Childcare Accreditation Council
- Principal and CEO of The Women’s College, University of Sydney
- Queensland Governor
- Governor General of the Commonwealth of Australia
(Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia 2013)
Like any individual, Ms Bryce has seen highs and lows in her professional life. Becoming the first female law lecturer and tutor at Queensland University came with difficulties, Ms Bryce was subjected to rude and sarcastic jibes directed from the male faculty cohort (Natasha Bita 2008). During the time in which Ms Bryce was the Federal Sex Discrimination Commissioner, she attracted criticism for recommending amendment to the Act which would exempt religious schools and voluntary organisations from the provisions of the Act (Peter Westmore 2008). Subsequently, statements made by Ms Bryce also came under question by the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission in 1993, when a male Canberra doctor complained that Ms Bryce had made sexually discriminatory remarks against him in a document obtained under the Freedom of Information (Peter Westmore 2008). In the file Ms Bryce was documented as saying that the complaint was “another example of a male wasting our time with trivia” (Peter Westmore 2008). Other trivial complaints were made about Ms Bryce upon her appointment to the post of Governor of Queensland in 2003, Ms Bryce was criticised for being a ‘control freak’ by staff and hosting illegitimate parties at Government house.
Although for the amount of criticism and hardship which Ms Bryce has contended with throughout her career, she has achieved two fold in the way of success and admiration. As outlined above, Ms Bryce has been a matriarch to women in the legal industry. Further, Ms Bryce has been awarded the appointment of an Officer of the Order of Australia in 1988 and a Champion of the Order of Australia in 2003. In an interview with Kerry O’Brien, Ms Bryce explains that at the time, her years as the Federal Sex discrimination Commissioner were most probably the proudest achievement of her public career, having the opportunity to reform legislation to provide fairness and equal opportunity to those who had been marginalised due to their sex or marital status (Kerry O’Brien 2008).
Ms Bryce is inspiration for her work in equal opportunity and elevating the interests of Australian women. However, Ms Bryce is not only accredited for the work she has done in the liberation of women’s right in Australia, but and has also been a lobbyist for indigenous rights and has been active in promoting the interests of rural communities across Australia (Kerry O’Brien 2008). From here humble roots of being a country girl to becoming the Crown’s representative in Australia, she is inspirational not only to women but, identifies that it doesn’t matter where you start in life, your achievement will be limited only by your will to achieve. Over the recent decades women who have attempted to juggle family and a successful career have been subjected to criticism. Ms Bryce has advised women throughout generations that “[we] can have it all, but not at the same time” (Kerry O’Brien 2008). As a mother of five (Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia 2013), Ms Bryce is the epitome of a successful working mother, who has not compromised her personal success but also acknowledges the crucial role “women play in their families” (Kerry O’Brien 2008). This evidences the importance Ms Bryce attaches to work/life balance and promotes the benefits and its achievability to both women and men.
Further, Ms Bryce is a patron of the Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation since May 2009 (Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation 2013), a cause which is close to my heart. Due to the devotion and passion which Ms Bryce has shown to women’s needs and interests, it follows that advancing the interests of woman’s health in Australia, especially in such a disease like ovarian cancer which in so regularly caught too late, would be of high concern for her.
I find the dignity, intelligence and will which Ms Bryce has depicted throughout her life to be highly inspiring. As I am currently studying a law degree, learning more about Ms Bryce’s achievements in the legal industry has been of particular interest. The strength that she has depicted has allowed her to achieve highly, and this strength, determination and self-confidence is something which I will endeavour to develop, as it has become quite evident to me that while I have high determination, I am somewhat lacking in self-confidence. These are skills which I will need as I enter an industry which is still very male dominated, if I wish to succeed in the future. Also, the emphasise which Ms Bryce places on the balance between career and family has also allowed me to believe that the two can harmoniously exist, and this is something which I will strive to achieve later in life.
Australian Women’s Registry 2009, Quentin Bryce (1942-), viewed 1 September 2013, <http://www.womenaustralia.info/biogs/AWE4213b.htm>.
Bita, Natasha 2008 ‘Model of style and substance’ The Australian, August 30 2008, accessed 2 September 2013 <http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/features/model-of-style-and-substance/story-e6frg6z6-1111117340340>.
Brennan, Frank 2011, ‘Julia Gillard and Labour’s moral decline’, Eureka Street, vol. 21, no. 19, pp. 40-42.
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade 2012, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Annual Report 2011-2012, viewed 27 August 2013, <http://www.dfat.gov.au/dept/annual_reports/11-12/pdf/DFAT_AR_2011-12.pdf>.
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade n.d., Graduate Opportunities, viewed 31 August 2013, <http://www.dfat.gov.au/jobs/graduates/>.
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade n.d., History of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, viewed 22 August 2013, <http://www.dfat.gov.au/dept/history.html>.
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade 2012, Policy Graduate Careers, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Canberra, viewed 31 August 2013, <http://www.dfat.gov.au/publications/jobs/policy-graduate-careers.html>.
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade n.d., What we do: our role and assets, viewed 22 August 2013, <http://www.dfat.gov.au/dept/what-we-do.html>.
Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia 2013, Their Excellencies the Honourable Quentin Bryces AC CVO and Mr Michael Bryce AM AE, viewed 1 September 2013, <http://www.gg.gov.au/their-excellencies-honourable-quentin-bryce-ac-cvo-and-mr-michael-bryce-am-ae>.
Harris, Stuart 2002 ‘The merger of the Foreign Affairs and Trade Departments revisited’, Australian Journal of International Affairs, vol. 56, no.2, pp. 223-235.
Kippenberger, Tony 2002, Leadership Styles, Wiley.
Mind Tools n.d., Leadership Styles, Mind Tools, viewed 5 September 2013, <http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newLDR_84.htm>.
O’Brien, Kerry 2008, Exclusive Interview with Quentin Bryce, 23 September 2008, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, accessed 2 September 2013 <http://www.abc.net.au/7.30/content/2008/s2372400.htm>.
Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation 2013, Patrons, viewed 22 August 2013, <http://www.ocrf.com.au/about-the-ocrf/team-exposure/team-exposure/patrons>.
Van Zandt, David E. 2009, ‘Client-Ready Law Graduates’, Litigation, vol. 36, no. 1, pp. 11-16.
Westmore, Peter 2008, ‘PROFILE: Other side of Australia’s next Governor-General’ News Weekly, April 26 2008, accessed 2 September 2013 <http://newsweekly.com.au/article.php?id=3280>.
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