Australia–Hong Kong relations

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Australia - Hong Kong relations
Map indicating locations of Australia and Hong Kong


Hong Kong

Australia–Hong Kong relations refers to international relations between Australia and Hong Kong. Australia has extensive and enduring interests in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. The Commonwealth of Australia supports Hong Kong's "high degree of autonomy" under Chinese sovereignty as provided for by the Sino-British Joint Declaration, Hong Kong's mini-constitution, the Basic Law, and in accordance with China's policy of observing "one country, two systems".


Both colonies Australia and Hong Kong established by the British Empire in 1788 and 1841, which also on 26 January. Australian gold rushes in the 1850s was the first interaction between Australians and southern Chinese, as the colonial British Hong Kong became the point of departure for immigrants from southern China. White migration within the British empire continued along the sea lines of communication between Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia/New Zealand. After Australia formed their new federal autonomy government in 1901, the Immigration Restriction Act 1901 was implemented to limit non-white immigration (including Eurasians) to Australia. Ethnic Chinese immigration resumed slowly as the White Australia policy was wound back during the 1950s and 1960s.

Australians have filled senior and mid-level posts in tertiary institutions and the Hong Kong government. HKU physiologist Lindsay Ride of Newstead, Victoria, established and commanded the British Army Aid Group during the Second World War. Philip Haddon-Cave of Hobart, Tasmania continued the Hong Kong government policy of positive non-intervention during his tenure as Hong Kong Financial Secretary.

Bilateral agreements[edit]

Articles 151, 153 and 155 of Hong Kong Basic Law permits Hong Kong to conclude non-military bilateral agreements with foreign countries, while article 152 permits Hong Kong to join international organisations.[1]

Both Hong Kong and Australia are full members of APEC and FATF, and are bilateral participants on air services agreement (since 1993), Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (since October 1993), Mutual Legal Assistance Agreement (since 1999), Surrender of Fugitive Offenders Agreement (since June 1997), Transfer of Sentenced Persons Agreement (since 2006).

Political relationships[edit]

Australia's policy toward Hong Kong is underpinned by its substantial commercial interests, and by the presence of a large Australian community living in Hong Kong.

Article 82 of Hong Kong Basic Law permits Hong Kong to invite judges from other common law jurisdictions to sit on the Court of Final Appeal.[2] The Hong Kong Government continues to hire and appoint Australians, with or without Right of Abode in Hong Kong, to senior post in the Hong Kong Judiciary. Former Hong Kong Director of Public Prosecutions, Kevin Zervos, was made a High Court judge in 2013. Sir Anthony Mason, Murray Gleeson, James Spigelman, William Gummow are appointed to the Court of Final Appeal as non-permanent justices from other common law jurisdictions.

The Australian Consulate-General represents the Australian Government in Hong Kong. Some Australian states havetrade or business offices in Hong Kong, including Queensland and Victoria.[3] In Australia, the Hong Kong SAR is represented through the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office based in Sydney.[4]

Trade and investment[edit]

Monthly value of Australian merchandise exports to Hong Kong (A$ millions) since 1988
Monthly value of Hong Kong merchandise exports to Australia (A$ millions) since 1968

Australia's commercial interests in Hong Kong are extensive and range from banking, accounting, legal, engineering, information technology services and retail and general trading. Around 550 Australian companies are based in Hong Kong, and a further 1,000 Australian companies have representative offices.


Some 90,000 Australians are resident in Hong Kong.[5] According to the 2016 Census, 86 886 people of Hong Kong origin live in Australia, with 280 943 Cantonese speakers in Australia, the largest number after Mandarin Chinese and Arabic.[6][clarification needed] The majority Hong Kong immigrants live in Sydney and Melbourne.[7]

Australia is one of the major English-speaking study destinations for students from Hong Kong due to monetary factors; while the Australian government is encouraging an enhanced two-way student mobility through the New Colombo Plan educational exchange.[8][9][10]


Both Australia and Hong Kong have offered "Working Holiday Programs" without quota restriction for maximum of 12-months since September 2001. The programme allows students to holiday in Hong Kong or Australia and to take temporary employment as needed to cover the expenses of their visit. The programme aims to increase travel by young people between Australia and Hong Kong and to strengthen the links between the two regions.[11][12]

In popular culture[edit]

British satirical comedy The Day Today featured news coverage of a fictional trade agreement between Australia and Hong Kong. Host Chris Morris's impression of Jeremy Paxman's combative interview style swiftly led to the outbreak of war in Eastmanstown, on the "Australio-Hong Kong border".[13]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Basic Law Full Text - chapter (7)". Retrieved 20 October 2016.
  2. ^ "Basic Law Full Text - chapter (4)". Retrieved 20 October 2016.
  3. ^ Trade, corporateName= Department of Foreign Affairs and. "Australian Consulate-General in". Retrieved 20 October 2016.
  4. ^ Australia-Hong Kong relationship Archived 2012-07-22 at the Wayback Machine Australian Consulate-General Hong Kong, China
  5. ^ "Expatriate Australians begin voting in Hong Kong and across the world". Australia Network News. 27 August 2013. Retrieved 2014-01-24.
  6. ^ "Dataset: Census 2016, Language spoken at home by Sex (SA2+)". ABS.Stat. Australian Bureau of Statistics. Retrieved 13 March 2019.
  7. ^ History of immigration from Hong Kong (SAR)
  8. ^ "Australian universities luring Hong Kong students". ABC News. 19 July 2013. Retrieved 2014-01-24.
  9. ^ "New Colombo Plan facilitates Hong Kong and Australian student exchange". Retrieved 20 October 2016.
  10. ^ "New Colombo Plan facilitates Hong Kong and Australian student exchange". Retrieved 20 October 2016.
  11. ^ "Working Holiday Maker Program - Frequently Asked Questions". Archived from the original on 2013-03-07. Retrieved 2014-01-24.
  12. ^ "Labour Department - Policy Support". Retrieved 20 October 2016.
  13. ^ "WAR!". The Day Today. 1994-02-16. Retrieved 2016-06-23.
  • With the exception of the Commonwealth Coat of Arms and where otherwise noted, all material presented on this website is provided under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Australia licence. [1]

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