Australia and the United Nations
|United Nations membership|
|Represented by||Commonwealth of Australia (1945-present)|
|Since||1 November 1945|
|Permanent Representative||Mitch Fifield|
Australia was one of the founding members of the United Nations (UN) in 1945 and has been actively engaged in the organisation since its formation. The UN is seen by the Australian Government as a means to influence events which directly affect Australia's interests but over which they have little unilateral control.
Australia has a permanent diplomatic mission to the UN in New York City along with missions in Geneva, Vienna and Nairobi. The Australian Mission is headed by an Ambassador and Permanent Representative and staffed by officers from the Department of Foreign Affairs, AusAid, the Australian Defence Force, the Australian Federal Police, as well as local employees. The Mission provides the core of Australia's delegation to UN conferences and meetings in New York, including regular and special sessions of the United Nations General Assembly. It also participates in the ongoing work of the UN's other organisations, such as the Security Council and the Economic and Social Council, and follows the activities of the UN's specialised agencies and programs.
Australia is the twelfth largest financial contributor to the UN. Australia contributed more than US$87 million in the years 2004 to 2006, with a regular budget of US$22.9 million, peacekeeping costs of approximately US$60 million, and over US$4 million contribution to International Tribunals.
Australia has been an elected member of the United Nations Security Council on five occasions in the past. H. V. Evatt, a former Opposition Leader of Australia and prominent figure in the Australian Labor Party, was President of the United Nations General Assembly in 1948.
|UN Organisation||Terms served|
|UNSC||1946–1947, 1956–1957, 1973–1974, 1985–1986, 2013–2014|
|ECOSOC||1992–1997, 2002–2012, 2016–date|
|UNHRC||1991–1997, 2003–2006, 2018–2020|
Australian involvement in UN peacekeeping operations
Australians were the first peacekeepers to serve under United Nations auspices when they sent military observers to Indonesia in 1947 during the independence struggle. About 65,000 Australian personnel have partaken in more than fifty peacekeeping operations, in about 25 different conflicts. Operations include military observation, monitoring cease-fires, clearing landmines, humanitarian aid and the repatriation of refugees.
Since 1947 Australians have joined peacekeeping operations in Cambodia, Korea, Namibia, Rwanda, and Somalia among others. All three services of the Australian Defence Force, as well as police officers and civilians, have been involved in peacekeeping activities.
The most significant recent involvement from Australian peacekeeping troops is in the newly formed country of East Timor. Australia initially offered between 1,000 and 1,300 infantry, three Royal Australian Navy ships (HMAS Manoora and HMAS Kanimbla already stationed nearby, and HMAS Tobruk) along with other support capabilities. Australia's involvement in East Timor is through UNMISET, the United Nations Mission of Support to East Timor, and UNOTIL, the United Nations Office in Timor Leste and UNMIT, the United Nations Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste.
Seven Australians have commanded or led multinational peacekeeping operations. Nine Australian peacekeepers have died on UN missions.
|UN Operation name||UN Operation title||Location||Dates of Australian involvement||Number of Australians involved||Australian role|
|None||UN Consular Commission||Indonesia||1947||4||Military observers|
|UNGOC||UN Good Offices Commission||Indonesia||1947–1949||About 45 ADF personnel||Monitor ceasefires and ensure the peace between Dutch and Indonesian nationalists|
|UNCI||UN Commission for Indonesia||Indonesia||1949–1951||About 45 ADF personnel||Monitor ceasefires and ensure the peace between Dutch and Indonesian nationalists|
|UNCOK||UN Commission on Korea||Korea||1950||2||Military observers|
|UNMOGIP||UN Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan||Kashmir||1950–1985||Up to 18||Military observers and air transport|
|UNCURK||UN Commission for the Unification and Rehabilitation of Korea||Korea||1951||1||Military observer|
|UNCMAC||UN Command Military Armistice Commission||Korea||1953–present||Originally 6, with 2 continually serving. Estimated 68 total||Armistice monitoring|
|UNTSO||UN Truce Supervision Organization||Israel and neighbouring Middle East countries||1956–present||Up to 13. Estimated 700 total||Military observers|
|ONUC||Operation des Nations Unies au Congo (UN Operation in the Congo)||Congo||1960–1961||Army medical team of 3 seconded to the International Red Cross||Medical team|
|UNTEA||UN Temporary Executive Authority||Western New Guinea||1962–1963||4 Army pilots, 7 RAAF ground crew and 2 Sioux helicopters||Cholera eradication program|
|UNYOM||UN Yemen Observation Mission||Yemen||1963||2||Military observers|
|UNFICYP||UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus||Cyprus||1964–present||15 Australian Federal Police officers. Estimated 1000 in total||Law and order|
|UNIPOM||UN India-Pakistan Observation Mission||India and Pakistan||1965–1966||3; 1 seconded from UNTSO, 2 seconded from UNMOGIP||Military observers|
|UNDOF||UN Disengagement Observer Force||Israel and Syria||1974||Several redeployed from UNTSO. None currently||Military observers|
|UNEF II||UN Emergency Force II||Sinai||1976–1979||46 RAAF detachment operating 4 UH-1 helicopters||Ceasefire monitoring between Israel and Egypt|
|UNIFIL||UN Interim Force in Lebanon||Lebanon||1978||A few through detachment from UNTSO||Military observers|
|UNIIMOG||UN Iran-Iraq Military Observer Group||Iran and Iraq||1988–1990||Up to 16 in Iran only||Military observers|
|UNBRO||UN Border Relief Operation||Thailand/Cambodia border||1989–1993||2 Federal Police||Law and order, and police training|
|UNTAG||UN Transition Assistance Group||Namibia||1989–1990||613 in two rotations; 28 electoral supervisors||Engineering support and election supervision|
|UNMCTT||UN Mine Clearance Training Team||Afghanistan and Pakistan||1989–1993||10 teams of 6–9 Army field engineers. Estimated 95 total||Demining|
|UNSCOM||UN Special Commission||Iraq||1991–1999||Between 2–6 ADF personnel on 3–6-month tours, 1 RAAF Image Analyst on rotation for up to 3 years. Estimated total 96||Inspection of Iraqi chemical, biological and nuclear weapons capabilities|
|MINURSO||Mission des Nations Unies pour un Referendum au Sahara Occidental (UN Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara)||Western Sahara||1991–1994||5 45 person contingents. Total 225||Communications|
|UNAMIC||UN Advance Mission in Cambodia||Cambodia||1991–1992||65||Military observers, signals and support|
|UNTAC||UN Transitional Authority in Cambodia||Cambodia||1992–1993||Up to 1,215 ADF personnel||Movement Control Group (May - Sep 1992); Force Communications Unit|
|UNOSOM I||UN Operation in Somalia||Somalia||1992–1993||30||Movement control unit|
|UNITAF||Unified Task Force||Somalia||1992–1993||About 1,200. 1 Royal Australian Regiment Battalion Group, HQ group, and HMAS Tobruk||Protecting delivery of humanitarian aid, law and order, and establishing functional legal, social and economic systems|
|UNPROFOR||UN Protection Force in Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Macedonia||Former Yugoslavia||1992||Several||Military observers and liaison|
|UNOSOM II||UN Operation in Somalia II||Somalia||1993–1995||36 Movements and Air Traffic Control Staff, 12-man Ready Reaction Security Team (mainly SAS) and HQ staff. 50 personnel per tour, about 250 in total||Movement control unit, HQ staff, security|
|UNAMIR II||UN Assistance Mission for Rwanda||Rwanda||1994–1995||More than 600 in 2 contingents||Medical, infantry protection, support troops|
|ONUMOZ||UN Operation in Mozambique||Mozambique||1994||15 police, 4 ADF||Police and demining|
|MINUGUA||UN Verification Mission in Guatemala||Guatemala||1997||1||Military observer|
|UNAMET||UN Mission in East Timor||East Timor||1999||50 police, 6 military liaison officers||Facilitating referendum|
|INTERFET||International Force East Timor under UN mandate||East Timor||1999–2000||5,500||Establishing security, facilitating humanitarian aid and reconstruction|
|UNTAET||UN Transitional Administration in East Timor||East Timor||2000–2002||Up to 2,000||maintaining security, facilitating reconstruction|
|UNMEE||United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea||Ethiopia and Eritrea||2000–present||2 ADF officers, 16 in total||Training mission personnel and mapping|
|UNMISET||UN Mission of Support in East Timor||East Timor||2002–2005||Up to 1,600||Maintaining security, facilitating reconstruction|
|UNMOVIC||UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission for Iraq||Iraq||2002–2003||A few trained, not deployed||Weapons inspectors|
|UNAMA||UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan||Afghanistan||2003–2004||1||Military advisor|
|UNMIS (Operation Azure)||United Nations Mission in the Sudan||Sudan||2005–present||15||Military observers, logistics, air movement controllers|
|UNOTIL (Operation Tower)||United Nations Office in Timor-Leste||East Timor||2005–present||About 17||Military and police support|
Australia-UN relations in 2008
In March 2008, senior United Nations officials travelled to Canberra to meet Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, elected three months earlier. According to The Age, the aim was to "repair relations". Hilde Johnson, deputy director of UNICEF, stated that Rudd was showing "stronger support" for the United Nations and multilateralism than his predecessor John Howard had. During Howard's Prime Ministership, UN high commissioner for human rights Mary Robinson had criticised Australia's human rights record. Johnson stated that the new Australian government had "explicitly said there's going to be a change, that the government will engage strongly and pro-actively with the UN". For the Australian government, Bob McMullan said that his country's "relationship with the major multi-lateral organisations has deteriorated in a manner that is quite contrary to Australia's long-term interests and needs to be repaired".
Australian Contributions to UN Regular Budget as at 2016
|Scale of assessments adopted in UN resolution 67/238||Contributions (USD)||Scale of assessments for 2016||Gross contributions (USD)||Credit from staff assessment||Net contributions (USD)||Total contributions (USD)|
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- "Overview". Australian Permanent Mission to the United Nations. Archived from the original on 28 November 2006. Retrieved 19 March 2007.
- "Message from the Ambassador HE the Hon Robert Hill". Australian Permanent Mission to the United Nations. Archived from the original on 28 November 2006. Retrieved 19 March 2007.
- "GA/11303 – General Assembly Elects Argentina, Australia, Luxembourg, Republic of Korea, Rwanda as Non-Permanent Members of Security Council". United Nations Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York. 18 October 2012. Retrieved 19 October 2012.
- "Speech by the Prime Minister, the Hon P.J Keating MP: The 50th Anniversary of the United Nations Australia and a World Without Nuclear Weapons, Parliament House, Canberra, 24 October 1995". Canberra Commission on the Elimination of Nuclear Weapons. Australian Government, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Archived from the original on 3 February 2007. Retrieved 20 March 2007.
- "History of Peacekeeping". Australian War Memorial. Archived from the original on 2 February 2007. Retrieved 20 March 2007.
- "Aust to send troops to E Timor". ABC News Online. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 24 May 2006. Archived from the original on 8 April 2007. Retrieved 20 March 2007.
- Department of Veterans' Affairs. Australian Peacekeeping Operations Archived 9 April 2007 at the Wayback Machine
- "Peacekeepers in Indonesia – Then and Now". Australian War Memorial. Archived from the original on 2 February 2007. Retrieved 26 March 2007.
- Copeland, Paul (2002). "United Nations Good Offices Commission (UNGOC) in the Dutch East Indies & United Nations Commission for Indonesia (UNCI)". Australian Peacekeepers & Peacemakers Association. Archived from the original on 24 June 2007. Retrieved 26 March 2007.
- Copeland, Paul (2002). "UN Commission on Korea (UNCOK): 1948–1950". Australian Peacekeepers & Peacemakers Association. Archived from the original on 13 June 2007. Retrieved 26 March 2007.
- "Summary of Australian Participation in Peacekeeping Missions". Australian Government Department of Veterans' Affairs. Archived from the original on 9 June 2007. Retrieved 26 March 2007.
- "James Plimsoll and UNCURK". Out in the Cold, Australia's involvement in the Korean War. Australian War Memorial. Archived from the original on 25 December 2006. Retrieved 26 March 2007.
- Copeland, Paul (2002). "UN Command Military Armistice Commission (UNCMAC) : 1953 – present". Australian Peacekeepers & Peacemakers Association. Archived from the original on 24 June 2007. Retrieved 26 March 2007.
- Copeland, Paul (2002). "UN Truce Supervision Organisation (UNTSO): 1948 – present". Australian Peacekeepers & Peacemakers Association. Archived from the original on 13 June 2007. Retrieved 26 March 2007.
- "Cyprus Country Brief". Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Archived from the original on 31 March 2007. Retrieved 26 March 2007.
- "Middle East – UNEF II Background, Composition and Strength". United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations. Archived from the original on 15 August 2006. Retrieved 26 March 2007.
- Copeland, Paul (2002). "UN Transition Assistance Group (UNTAG): 1989–1990". Australian Peacekeepers & Peacemakers Association. Archived from the original on 13 June 2007. Retrieved 26 March 2007.
- Copeland, Paul (2002). "UN Special Commission (UNSCOM)". Australian Peacekeepers & Peacemakers Association. Archived from the original on 24 June 2007. Retrieved 26 March 2007.
- Copeland, Paul (2002). "UN Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara, 1991–1994, OPERATION CEDILLA". Australian Peacekeepers & Peacemakers Association. Archived from the original on 24 June 2007. Retrieved 26 March 2007.
- Sawyer, Greg (2002). "UN Advanced Mission in Cambodia (UNAMIC)/UN Transitional Authority in Cambodia (UNTAC) 1991–1993". UNSW United Nations Society. Archived from the original on 28 August 2007. Retrieved 26 March 2007.
- "Somalia 1993–1996". ANZAC Day Commemoration Committee (Qld) Incorporated. Archived from the original on 1 December 2006. Retrieved 27 March 2007.
- "The senseless slaughter". Army – The Soldiers' Newspaper. Retrieved 27 March 2007.
- "United Nations Operation in Mozambique". George Mason University, Peace Operations Policy Program. Retrieved 27 March 2007.
- "Australians and Peacekeeping, East Timor". Australian War Memorial. Archived from the original on 6 April 2007. Retrieved 27 March 2007.
- "Australia's Contribution to United Nations Operation in Ethiopia and Eritrea Ends". Senator the Hon. Robert Hill, Minister for Defence, Leader of the Government in the Senate, Australian Defence Ministers and Parliamentary Secretary Media Release. Archived from the original on 20 December 2007. Retrieved 27 March 2007.
- "East Timor Operation Citadel". Australian Government, Department of Defence. Archived from the original on 4 April 2007. Retrieved 27 March 2007.
- Statement by Australian Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Mr John Dauth, LVO (16 October 2002). "United Nations Security Council Open Debate on Iraq". Australian Government, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Archived from the original on 5 April 2007. Retrieved 27 March 2007.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
- Statement by H.E. Caroline Millar Ambassador and Chargé d’Affaires a.i. of Australia to the United Nations (14 March 2006). "Security Council, The Situation in Afghanistan". Australian Permanent Mission to the United Nations, New York. Retrieved 27 March 2007.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
- "About Operation Azure". Australian Government Department of Defence. Archived from the original on 16 April 2007. Retrieved 27 March 2007.
- "About Operation Tower". Australian Government Department of Defence. Archived from the original on 23 April 2007. Retrieved 27 March 2007.
- "UN bid to mend fences with Canberra", Sarah Smiles, The Age, 17 March 2008
- James Cotton and David Lee (eds), Australia and the United Nations, Canberra: Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and Sydney: Longueville Books, 2013.
- Australia and the United Nations, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (Australia)
- Australian Permanent Mission to the United Nations
- United Nations Information Centre for Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific
- Australia and the United Nations Archived 29 August 2007 at the Wayback Machine, National Archives of Australia
- Assessment of Member States’ advances to the Working Capital Fund for the biennium 2016–2017 and contributions to the United Nations regular budget for 2016, United Nations