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Monday, 6 December 1999
Page: 12917

Mr Latham asked the Minister for Defence, upon notice, on 12 October 1999:

With which countries and for what periods has Australia been in a state of war at any time since the federation of the Australian colonies.

Mr Moore (Defence) —The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

"State of War", is defined in the Defence Act 1903 part 1, subsection 4(1) as:

`any invasion or apprehended invasion of, or attack or apprehended attack on, Australia by an enemy or armed force;'

Using this definition, Australia has only ever been in one actual `state of war'. During World War II (WWII), which began 3 September 1939 and ended 8 May 1945, the Australian mainland came under direct attack of Japanese bombers in north-western Australia and Japanese midget submarines in Sydney harbour. This occurred in 1942.

By broadening the scope of the definition to include armed conflicts in which Australia has contributed troops, the following can be provided:



Countries Involved

Boer War

11 October 1899—1 June 1902

British Empire (including Australia; South Africa; Ceylon; New Zealand; Canada); independent republics of Dutch-Afrikaners (Boers)

Boxer Rebellion

6 August 1900—25 April 1901

China; Britain; Italy; US; France; Germany; Austria; Russia; Japan; Australia

World War I

4 August 1914—11 November 1918

Britain; France; Belgium; US; New Zealand; Germany; Turkey; Australia; Russia; Luxembourg; Italy; Austria-Hungary; Serbia; New Guinea; Bulgaria; Portugal; Rumania; Transylvania

Egyptian Rebellion

Early 1919

Australia; New Zealand; Britain

World War II

3 September 1939—8 May 1945

Britain; France; US; New Zealand; Canada; Australia; Austria; Bulgaria; Cyprus; Czechoslovakia; Denmark; Ethiopia; Finland; Georgia; Iceland; Indonesia; Korea; Macedonia; Netherlands; Norway; Philippines; Poland; Singapore; Switzerland; Ukraine; Yugoslavia; Germany; Italy; Syria; Lebanon; Japan; Soviet Union

Korean War

29 June 1950—27 July 1953

South Korea; US; Australia; New Zealand; North Korea; China; South Africa; Canada; Belgium; Luxembourg; Columbia; Ethiopia; France; Great Britain; Greece; Netherlands; Philippines; Thailand; Turkey; Denmark; India; Sweden

Malayan Emergency

31 May 1950—31 July 1953

Malaya; Britain; Australia

Indonesian Confrontation

10 October 1963—1 October 1966

Indonesia; Malaysia; Britain; Australia

Vietnam War

3 August 1962—1 January 1973

US; Canada; Australia; South Vietnam; North Vietnam

Gulf War

17 January 1991—28 February 1991

Iraq; UN Coalition: US; Afghanistan; Australia; Bahrain; Bangladesh; Belgium; Britain; Canada; Czechoslovakia; Egypt; France; Germany; Honduras; Italy; Kuwait; New Zealand; Niger; Oman; Poland; Qatar; Romania; Saudi Arabia; South Korea; Syria; United Arab Emirates