This article considers the transformations taking place in the consular landscape and the resulting pressures on departments of foreign affairs both in Australia and elsewhere. For Australia, the challenges are particularly compelling. As the Lowy Institute has observed in successive reports, Australia’s anaemic overseas representation renders the growing consular load an even more formidable problem. When crises strike, resources are diverted both within government and within the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, skewing other priorities. The second part of the article analyses government responses to these challenges. It examines the new focus on consular diplomacy and the government’s first formal consular strategy. It assesses the recent modest expansion of Australia’s overseas diplomatic network, together with the steps taken to enhance international cooperation on consular issues. The article concludes that while the problems facing Australia’s consular service remain pressing, some progress has been made.