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Part III Themes, Ch.18 Australia in the International Order

Hilary Charlesworth

From: The Oxford Handbook of the Australian Constitution

Edited By: Cheryl Saunders, Adrienne Stone

From: Oxford Constitutions (http://oxcon.ouplaw.com). (c) Oxford University Press, 2023. All Rights Reserved.date: 28 January 2023

This chapter offers an account of Australia's engagement with the international legal order, through different aspects of the relationship: designing international institutions, litigating in the World Court, and implementing international standards. These are only fragments of the full picture, but they illustrate both Australia's embrace of and distancing from the international legal order. Australia's relationship with the international legal order overall is marked by a deep strand of ambivalence. It has played both the part of a good international citizen as well as that of an international exceptionalist. In some fields, Australia has engaged creatively in international institution-building, even if with a wary eye to protect certain Australian interests. In other areas, particularly human rights, the relationship is distinctly uneasy, with Australia appearing to believe that international standards should regulate others and that it is somehow above scrutiny.

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