Australian Embassy to Belgium and Luxembourg and
Mission to the European Union and NATO
Embassy address: Avenue des Arts/Kunstlaan 56, Brussels 1000 - Telephone: +32 (0) 2 286 0500 - Fax: +32 (0) 2 286 0576 - Email: austemb.brussels@dfat.gov.au

Australia-NATO Relations

Over recent years, Australia’s relations with NATO have expanded considerably in many areas, most notably since the deployment of Australian forces in Afghanistan under the NATO-led ISAF (International Security Assistance Force) mission. Australia is the largest non-NATO contributor to ISAF. Some 1550 ADF (Australian Defence Force) troops are deployed in Afghanistan, together with personnel from DFAT (Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade), AFP (Australian Federal Police) and other Australian government agencies.

Australia is also one of the countries sharing similar strategic concerns and key values that cooperate with NATO on a bilateral basis. NATO’s adoption of a more efficient and flexible partnership policy in April 2011 paved the way to enhance the practical cooperation and the political dialogue with these “partners across the globe”. In January 2012 Australia deepened its engagement with NATO when it appointed its first Ambassador to NATO.

Regular high-level political dialogue also underpins cooperation. Australia’s defence and foreign ministers regularly attend NATO / ISAF meetings and meet its Secretary General. A month after the then Senator Bob Carr became the Australian Foreign Minister in March 2012 he had his first meeting with NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen. In June 2012, the Secretary-General visited Australia where he met with the then Prime Minister Gillard and the then Defence Minister Smith and signed a joint high-level political declaration with Australia. Also among his engagements, the Secretary General spoke at the National Press Club on closer ties between Australia and NATO.

Former Australian Prime Minister, the Hon Julia Gillard, MP made her first trip to NATO in October 2010 to discuss ISAF’s efforts in Afghanistan with Mr Fogh Rasmussen. She and former Defence Minister Stephen Smith also participated in NATO Summits in Lisbon (November 2010) and Chicago (May 2012).