Australia’s federal system of government poses some difficulty in relation to compliance with obligations under international instruments, notwithstanding the Commonwealth’s unequivocal powers on external affairs in the Australian Constitution. It is the Commonwealth Government that is a signatory to international agreements and treaties, but this does not necessarily mean that it administers the relevant policy field domestically. In practice, the complex and multi-faceted relationships between Commonwealth, State and Territory Governments make the political dimensions of the federal relationship as important as the legal arrangements. The Commonwealth Government does not always have unambiguous control over a given policy issue
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