Bilateral political relations between the Federal Republic of Germany and Australia have traditionally been friendly. The important role played by German immigrants from the mid-19th century onwards (wine growing in the Barossa Valley) and after the Second World War (hydroelectric power system in the Snowy Mountains) is appreciated. Economic and scientific relations are lively but there is room for further improvement (4:1 trade imbalance in Germany’s favour). Visits by German tourists lead to numerous personal contacts. Particularly popular are the Working Holidays programme, which enables some 20,000 young Germans to visit and get to know Australia every year, and the numerous school exchange programmes. There are some 3,000 German students enrolled at Australian universities.
Shared values and political interests provide a sound basis for trustful cooperation between Australia and Germany, which is fostered by a regular exchange of visitors in both directions. Over the past few years, a number of German parliamentary and business delegations have visited Australia. A significant milestone in bilateral relations was the Asia-Pacific Conference in Perth in 2017, which was opened jointly by German Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. The two countries’ foreign ministers meet regularly on the sidelines of international conferences.
Australia is aware of Germany’s importance as a leading nation within the European Union. Conversely, Australia is an important partner for Germany because of its growing influence in Southeast and East Asia and its support for peace, democracy, respect for human rights and good governance. That is why it is in the two countries’ common interest to cooperate closely in Asia, and such cooperation is also necessary to combat international terrorism and drug trafficking as well as other forms of cross-border crime. Germany and Australia also pull together in the G-20 (group of the 20 principal industrialized and threshold countries) and on climate protection. There are shared goals, too, in many other areas, e.g. nuclear disarmament and non-Proliferation.