Australia was a founding member of the UN in 1945 and has been actively engaged in the organisation since then. Australia pursues important national interests in the UN system, with its participation focused on achieving practical, constructive and realistic outcomes for the betterment of both present and future Australians. The principal body, the General Assembly and its committees, is complemented by specialised agencies like the World Health Organization, and affiliated organisations, such as the International Atomic Energy Agency. Under the UN Charter the Security Council has primary responsibility for maintaining international peace and security.
Australia places high priority on the UN's efforts to promote multilateral cooperation in core areas: international security and disarmament; the development of international legal instruments and norms; the provision of humanitarian assistance; and protection of the environment and sustainable development. Priorities over the past year have included strengthening multilateral cooperation on anti-terrorism and the establishment of the International Criminal Court.
Australia is actively involved in negotiations on the Draft Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and supports the work of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues as the pre-eminent UN body dedicated to coordinating and promoting UN efforts relating to indigenous issues.
Reform of the UN is an important objective for Australia. The aim is to ensure that the UN system can respond effectively to changing circumstances and deliver better outcomes more efficiently for member states and their people.