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Australia is a signatory to a large number of international agreements and treaties.

According to DFAT, a treaty is “an agreement between States (countries) which is binding at international law. In some cases international organisations can be parties to treaties. A treaty may also be called a ‘treaty’, ‘convention’, ‘protocol’, ‘covenant’ or ‘exchange of letters’. An agreement between an Australian State or Territory and a foreign Government will not, therefore, be a treaty. Even if a document is agreed between two or more sovereign countries, it will not be a treaty unless those countries intend the document to be binding at international law.”

Treaties can be:

  • Bilateral – between Australia and one other country (eg. Timor Sea Treaty with East Timor)
  • Multilateral – between three or more countries (eg. the United Nations charter)

Other information

  • Australian Treaties Database – information from DFAT
  • 2002: Timor Sea Treaty – bilateral treaty with East Timor, signed on May 20, 2002.
  • 2002: ASEAN Regional Forum – DFAT booklet outlining Australia’s involvement in the 23-member ASEAN Regional Forum, established in 1994.
  • 2002: Greater Transparency For Treaty Making Process – The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Alexander Downer, has announced new measures to provide for greater public accessibility to the treaty-making process. [Aug 20, 2002]
  • 1995: International Treaties: Their Impact On Australia – a speech by the former Minister for Foreign Affairs, Gareth Evans, in which he discusses the treaties Australia is a signatory to, and the impact those treaties have had on Australian policy-making.
  • 1954: Full Text of the SEATO Treaty – Australia was a signatory to the Southeast Asian defence treaty, along with the United States, Great Britain, France, New Zealand, the Philippines, Thailand and Pakistan.
  • 1951: Full Text of the ANZUS Treaty – The security treaty between Australia, New Zealand and the United States was signed in San Francisco on September 1, 1951. More information on ANZUS.

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Malcolm Farnsworth
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