Australian Foreign Policy

POL20008 12.5 Credit Points Hawthorn, Online Available to incoming Study Abroad and Exchange students


  • 1 Semester or equivalent

Contact hours

  • 36 hours

On-campus unit delivery combines face-to-face and digital learning. For Online unit delivery, learning is conducted exclusively online.

2022 teaching periods


Higher Ed. Semester 2

1 Aug 22 - 30 Oct 22

6 Dec 22

Last self enrolment:
14 Aug 22

31 Aug 22

Last withdraw without fail:
16 Sep 22

More teaching periods
Swinburne Online

Teaching Period 2

11 Jul 22 - 9 Oct 22

1 Nov 22

Last self enrolment:
24 Jul 22

5 Aug 22

Last withdraw without fail:
26 Aug 22


50 Credit Points

Aims and objectives

This unit introduces students to Australian foreign policy, exploring the regional and international context in which Australia pursues its national and security interests, and how those interests have changed over time. It covers Australia's relationship with the USA and other international and regional actors and organisations, and explores key foreign policy issues in the context of the globalised world, such as terrorism, asylum and migration, global economics, foreign aid, climate change and human rights. It also assesses Australia's place in the world, and what sort of international actor it has been, and aims to be.

Students who successfully complete this unit will be able to:
1. Articulate the pre- and post-colonial legacies on Australian foreign policy;
2. Evaluate the major developments in Australian foreign policy, and their relationship to domestic politics and identity;
3. Identify the problems of alliance, multilateralism, and unilateralism in Australian foreign policy;
4. Evaluate Australia’s place in global and regional politics and relevant emerging foreign policy issues, individually and with others;
5. Critically analyse Australian foreign policy in relation to key concepts and foreign policy approaches and theories.