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World > Australia > Australia > Foreign Relations (Notes)

Australia - Foreign Relations (Notes)


FOREIGN RELATIONS
Australia has been active participant in international affairs since World War I and since then has fought beside the United States and other Allies in every significant conflict to the present day. In 1944, it concluded an agreement with New Zealand dealing with the security, welfare, and advancement of the people of the independent territories of the Pacific (the ANZAC pact). After the war, Australia played a role in the Far Eastern Commission in Japan and supported Indonesian independence during that country's revolt against the Dutch (1945-49). Australia was one of the founders of both the United Nations and the South Pacific Commission (1947), and in 1950, it proposed the Colombo Plan to assist developing countries in Asia. In addition to contributing to UN forces in Korea--it was the first country to announce it would do so after the United States--Australia sent troops to assist in putting down the communist revolt in Malaya in 1948-60 and later to combat the Indonesian-supported invasion of Sarawak in 1963-65. The U.S., Australia and New Zealand signed the ANZUS Treaty in 1951, which remains Australia's only formal security treaty alliance. Australia also sent troops to assist South Vietnamese and U.S. forces in Vietnam and joined coalition forces in the Persian Gulf conflict in 1991, in Afghanistan in 2002, and in Iraq in 2003.

Australia has been active in the Australia-New Zealand-U.K. agreement and the Five-Power Defense Arrangements--successive arrangements with Britain and New Zealand to ensure the security of Singapore and Malaysia.

One of the drafters of the UN Charter, Australia has given firm support to the United Nations and its specialized agencies. It was a member of the Security Council in 1986-87, a member of the Economic and Social Council for 1986-89, and a member of the UN Human Rights Commission for 1994-96 and 2003-2005. Australia takes a prominent part in many other UN activities, including peacekeeping, nonproliferation and disarmament negotiations, and narcotics control. Australia also is active in meetings of the Commonwealth Regional Heads of Government and the Pacific Islands Forum, and has been a leader in the Cairns Group--countries pressing for agricultural trade reform in World Trade Organization (WTO) negotiations--and in founding the APEC forum. In 2002, Australia joined the International Criminal Court.

Australia has devoted particular attention to relations between developed and developing nations, with emphasis on the ten countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the island states of the South Pacific. Australia is an active participant in the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), which promotes regional cooperation on security issues, and was invited to the East Asia Summit as an inaugural member in 2005. In September 1999, acting under a UN Security Council mandate, Australia led an international coalition to restore order in East Timor upon Indonesia's withdrawal from that territory. In 2006, Australia again participated in an international peacekeeping operation in East Timor. Australia led a regional mission to restore law and order in Solomon Islands in 2003 and again in 2006.

In 2006, the government committed to doubling Australia's official development assistance to $4 billion a year by 2010. Australia budgeted $2.48 billion ($A2.95 billion) as official development assistance in FY 2006-2007, and has budgeted $2.66 billion ($A3.16billion) in 2007-2008. The Australian aid program is currently concentrated in Southeast Asia (Papua New Guinea--PNG--is the largest-single recipient) and the Pacific Islands. In 2004, Australia commenced a 5-year $0.8 billion ($A1.1 billion) Enhanced Cooperation Program (ECP), which involved government officials working alongside their PNG counterparts. The future of the program was called into question in 2005, however, when ECP immunity provisions for Australian officials were successfully challenged in the PNG high court. Selected aid flows are allocated to Africa, South Asia, and reconstruction in Afghanistan and Iraq. Contributions to multilateral organizations and other expenses account for about one-third of the foreign assistance budget.


Facts at a Glance: Geography - People - Government - Economy - Communications - Transportation - Military - Climate - Current Time - Ranking Positions - Australian Dollar Exchange Rates
Notes and Commentary: People - Economy - Government and Political Conditions - Historical Highlights - Foreign Relations - Relations with U.S.



Facts at a Glance
Geography
People
Government
Economy
Communications
Transportation
Military
Climate
Current Time
Ranking Positions
Australian Dollar Exchange Rates


Notes and Commentary
People
Economy
Government and Political Conditions
Historical Highlights
Foreign Relations
Relations with U.S.





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