Home' Defence Magazine : Defence Magazine Issue 1 2018 Contents “IT IS AN INTERESTING AND
DYNAMIC REGION TO WORK
ON, NO DAY IS THE SAME
AND SOMETHING IS ALWAYS
Issue 1 2018 Defence
“DON’T COVER UP YOUR MISTAKES,
DON’T BE AFRAID TO GIVE FRANK
ADVICE AND LOOK AFTER THE PEOPLE
South and South East Asia,
International Policy Division
AFTER a one-year exchange to Japan in
high school, Zoe Cameron realised her
interest in the world of international policy
“It was a time of great change in the
international environment and I found it
fascinating,” she says.
Since then she has worked across the
board in the realm of international policy,
recently returning to the department after
a decade away working in other agencies
such as the Departments of Foreign Affairs
and Trade and Prime Minister and Cabinet
developing her strategic international poli-
cy and analysis skills.
Zoe is happy to be back in Defence and
is bringing her wealth of knowledge and a
better whole-of-government perspective
on national security issues with her.
“It’s been good to return to Defence and
be able to share what I’ve learned and see
how Defence is tackling similar issues,” she
“I think I’m able to make a stronger con-
tribution to Defence because of my broader
Zoe had worked in many agencies in
both policy and assessment roles and cov-
ered just about every region, though mainly
focused on North and South East Asia.
Her current role in International Policy
Division is heading up the South and South
East Asia Branch, a job which keeps her on
“ The geographic scope of the branch is
very broad and we manage a diverse range
of Indo-Pacific defence relationships includ-
ing India, Pakistan and the 10 ASEAN states,”
“It’s a busy branch and that’s because
increasing and deepening our engagement
in this region is a critical Defence White
“It’s also an interesting and dynamic
region to work on, no day is the same and
something is always happening.”
Although challenging at times, Zoe says
the diversity of issues and talented col-
leagues is rewarding.
“It’s when you are going beyond the text
book, and into uncharted policy or assess-
ment territory in real time, that the work
gets really interesting and rewarding.
“ That’s what makes working in interna-
tional policy in many parts of government
so unique, it’s a chance to shape history as
it is being made and in ways that work for
Australia’s national interests
“I’m very much enjoying working with
the individual teams and Defence Attaches
– and I’m in awe of their energy and com-
Acting Assistant Secretary
Global Interests Branch,
International Policy Division
SPENDING almost two decades with
the Department, Linda McCann lists her
fondest memory as something she never
intended to do.
“A career highlight is probably my time
as Australia’s Policy Adviser in Kabul in
2006,” she says.
“It wasn’t something I had aspired
to but once I was there, I realised what
an amazing opportunity I had to shape
the international community’s efforts in
“Our first Reconstruction Task Force
was deploying into Uruzgan province
and our ISAF partners were impressed
with our business model focused on skills
transfer to the local community.
“I loved working with the Afghan gov-
ernment officials, with ISAF partners, and
travelling between Kabul, Kandahar and
Tarin Kowt meeting the ADF members
that were away from their families, doing
a really impressive job.”
Her team in Global Interests Branch
works to progress Australia’s strategic
interests in the Middle East, Afghanistan,
Europe, Africa, Canada, non-Pacific Latin
America and in the United Nations.
Seeing the hard work come to fruition
is one of the things Linda loves most
about her job.
“One of the great things about working
in International Policy Division is seeing
the effects of our work, so it is not hard to
get a sense of achievement here,” she says.
“Having the recommendations in our
Cabinet submissions agreed by govern-
ment, or moving a bilateral relationship
forward through a dialogue that the
branch worked hard to deliver, is very
However, Linda says her team’s effort
and determination to achieve these out-
comes is what impresses her the most.
“ They work so hard, get hit with unrea-
sonable deadlines every day and still man-
age to deliver high quality policy advice
while being supportive of each other and
keeping their sense of humour,” she says.
The secret of success in international
policy according to Linda is to be account-
able, willing to engage with risk, and
actively pursue relationships across the
department and government.
“Don’t cover up your mistakes, don’t be
afraid to give frank advice and look after
the people around you.
WOMEN ADVANCE DEFENCE
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