Degree Name

Master of Arts


History and Politics - Faculty of Arts


The purpose of this thesis is to explore the complex relationships between Australia's approaches to human rights (HR) and to globalisation. This thesis examines the ways in which global economic activity, otherwise called economic globalisation, has influenced or determined Australia's foreign policy with regards to HR. This research investigates the complex relationships between Australia's Human Rights in its foreign policy and globalisation since the 1970s, by exploring the interaction between ongoing globalisation and Australian foreign policy. Its central argument is that Australia's foreign policy with regards to HR has been compromised by globalisation in the pursuit of its own national economic interests. Australia's lack of morality under its foreign policy has failed to take a state's moral obligation with regard to human rights, as international human rights principles and agreements require. This thesis critically analyses a nexus between the support and promotion of the HR approaches of Australian foreign policies since the 1970s on the one hand, and Australia's enthusiastic embrace of economic globalisation, on the other. It is argued that Australian foreign policy has been aimed at establishing an approach toward globalisation which gives priority to national business interests. This has resulted in inconsistent approaches to HR, especially with regards to Australia's nearest neighbour, East Timor. By exploring approaches of Australian Governments with regards to HR, especially some maritime boundary treaties of the Timor Sea that Australia has conducted and concluded, this thesis examines and shows the way in which Australian foreign policy has been shaped by economic global views, which in turn have had increasingly adverse effects on its international human rights policies. The case study of Australia's policies on East Timor reveal increasing inconsistency between HR principles and actions.

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