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date: 25 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter studies international law in Australia. As a former British colony, Australia received a Western and specifically British tradition of international law, which was initially tied to imperial interests and even the possession of its own colonies in the Pacific. While its international legal personality matured in the 1920s and 1930s, it was only after the Second World War that Australia came to exercise a genuinely independent approach to international law. A hallmark of Australian policy and practice has been a broadly bipartisan political commitment to international law and institutions and to multilateralism, albeit affected by its close alliance with the United States. As a self-described ‘middle power’, Australia views the international legal order as giving it a voice on the international plane, securing its territorial and economic interests, and reflecting the values of the Australian community. Accordingly, Australia participates actively in the various specialized branches of international law and their associated governance mechanisms and dispute resolution procedures, although it occasionally strays from full compliance with its obligations.

Keywords: Australia, international law, host state law, decolonization, multilateralism, human rights, disarmament, international dispute resolution

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