Since the end of World War Two, Australia has seen itself as having a valuable contribution to make toward the peace, security and welfare of its neighbours and the wider world. This has occurred through its participation in the United Nations, agreements and alliances withother nations, and through aid organizations.
The United Nations Organization
Since the end of World War 2, many nations of the world have determined to strive together for peace and improved quality of life for the peoples of the world. The United Nations has been the centre of these international inititiatives. Learn more about how and why it was begun here.Australia has had an active role within the UN and as a global citizen.

The charter for the United Nations was drawn up in June 1945, as the war came to an end. Many nations contributed their ideas, including Australia. Our representative was Dr Evatt, Minister for External Affairs in Chiffley's Labor Government. (He later led the Labor party in Opposition and clashed with PM Menzies over Communism). He served as President of the General Assembly in 1948-9 and helped draw up the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This became the basis for international laws and treaties. For a coutry to be a member it must agree that its internal laws reflect these prinicples. The UN also produces "Conventions" which are declared rights and freedoms, to which countries may "ratify" if they agree.

The United Nations General Assembly meets in New York, but it also has many specialist bodies that focus on areas like
Flags flying at the United Nations building in New York
Flags flying at the United Nations building in New York

  • health WHO
  • work rights ILO
  • science and education UNESCO
  • refugees UNHCR
They target areas in crisis due to natural disaster, poverty, war, and abuse of human rights. See this home page for an idea of the scope of the UN's involvements.
The UN also allows peace-keeping forces to be sent into areas facing conflict or humanitarian disasters. Australian troops have helped make up UN forces in
  • Cambodia
  • Papua New Guinea
  • Somalia
  • Afghanistan
  • the Middle East
  • East Timor
  • many others

The actions of the UN are not without controversy, due to the diverse nature of the member countries and their different agendas. For example, an early and important member country was Communist USSR - represented by Joseph Stalin, who is claimed to have killed up to 10 000 000 of his own citizens.

What's on the agenda for the next seesion of the General Assembly in New York - Sept 2009? Check it out..

International Agreements

These are a way of promoting peace and security and encouraging economic prosperity in our region.
Early agreements were a response to the threat of Communism in the region: (during time of PM Menzies)
  1. ANZUS
  2. SEATO
Another response was to build up good relations with neighbours (partly to discourage them from becoming Communist!) eg The Columbo Plan. This scheme began in 1950 and continues today.
In 1987 APEC was formed. What are its goals ? Check this site and find out.

Use the links to find out the different key features of each of these agreements.
Another area is aid and charity - both through the Australian Government and NGO's. (You know about this through Geography also). Check out the AUSaid site - this is a major Government sponsored organization working to alleviate poverty in our region.

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