The environment in Australia's foreign policy

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


    This chapter explores three environmental cases that provide exemplars (albeit of different kinds) of the way that Labor and Liberal-National Coalition governments approached their foreign environmental policy in the period 2011-15. The first focuses on the final stages of negotiation and adoption of the Minamata Convention on Mercury. Despite attracting little public attention in Australia, it nevertheless constitutes a useful example of how Australian governments have approached a new legally binding environmental agreement. The second case is the whaling challenge in the International Court of Justice (ICJ), instigated in May 2010. The Gillard Labor government presented the Memorial (the written submission) to the ICJ in May 2011. The Court's judgement was delivered in March 2014, by which time the Coalition was in power. The final and without doubt the most publicly prominent and divisive issue investigated in this chapter is climate change. In the period under review this culminated in the adoption of the Paris Agreement on 12 December 2015. In all three cases, Australia's foreign environmental policy has been subject to varying degrees of domestic scrutiny, lobbying and the marshaling of public opinion by various interest groups. In at least two of the cases - whaling and climate change - Australia's foreign policy brought it into potential conflict with regional neighbors and, in the case of climate change, placed it under significant international scrutiny.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationNavigating the new international disorder: Australia in world affairs 2011 - 2015
    Editors Mark Beeson and Shahar Hamerri
    Place of PublicationAustralia
    PublisherOxford University Press
    ISBN (Print)9780195596243
    Publication statusPublished - 2017


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