Australians' image in the world for professionalism, creativity and dedication can partly be attributed to the work of the country's large expatriate community, Trade and Competitiveness Minister Craig Emerson said today.
Speaking from the World Economic Forum in Davos, where a number of great Australians in business, academia and non-profit and multinational organisations are present, he called on Australians to recognise the unique contribution expatriates make to our country's culture, international reputation and prosperity.
"Australia Day is a time to reflect on what it means to be an Australian and on our place in the world, but we should also remember how our expatriates shape the nation's image abroad," Dr Emerson said.
About one million Australians live offshore at any one time, most of them on a long-term or permanent basis. Far from being a brain drain, Dr Emerson said the Australian diaspora influences the way the world sees and understands us.
"Australian expats tend to be well educated, well connected and successful," he said.
"Some of Australia's most talented, productive and motivated citizens choose to spend time building their careers away from home. This trend is likely to continue in line with global migration patterns of highly skilled workers," he said.
"Our expats are sharing Australian expertise, ideas and ways of doing things in every corner of the globe, projecting a compelling national image and providing networks and connections for Australians and Australian organisations."
In honour of Australia Day and Australian expatriates everywhere, an "Australia Unlimited: Global 50" list has been published.
This list recognises 50 Australians living and working abroad.
"Most Australians would not have heard of them, but their work deserves recognition," Dr Emerson said.
The list was developed as part of the Australian Government's Building Brand Australia Program, which aims to promote the skills and achievements of contemporary Australia to the rest of the world.
Download the list and profiles at www.australiaunlimited.com or access it via the Australia Unlimited free weekly iPhone app at http://itunes.apple.com/au/app/australia-unlimited-for-iphone/id572798776?mt=8
- Minister's Office: (02) 6277 4330
- DFAT Media Liaison: (02) 6261 1555