Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has warned Australians travelling overseas they need to take responsibility for their own actions and can't count on the federal government to bail them out if they get into trouble.

Ms Bishop says the government has a responsibility to help Aussies when they're caught up in disasters or political turmoil abroad.

But she's taking a more hardline approach towards people who break the law in other countries and then expect Australia to intervene.

"There is a limit to what the government can provide when people are overseas and subject to the laws of other countries," she told AAP on Thursday.

"There are circumstances where Australians must take responsibility for their own conduct overseas.

"If you break the laws of other countries or are accused of doing so, you are subjected to their legal system."

Speaking about consular affairs for the first time since taking over as foreign minister, Ms Bishop has urged people to take out insurance and check Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade advice before they travel overseas.

She has rejected calls for a government travel levy to help cover the costs of helping Australians overseas.

"I'm not in favour of imposing more taxes on people," she said.

Ms Bishop will be taking a different approach from Labor foreign ministers, who she accuses of using consular cases for "publicity and political grandstanding".

Instead she will be providing less of a daily commentary on high-profile cases.

"Rarely is that in the interests of the person requiring assistance," she said.