- Oct 2018
Do you mean with regard to the British Empire? As MG1962a notes, there were no official obligations on the matter of war. However, the colonies/Australia had consistently sent troops to fight for the British (the Maori war, Sudan 1885, the Boxer Rebellion, the Boer War, WWI), and Australia expected protection as a dominion of the empire. Australia wasn't actually a de jure sovereign state prior to 1942. The 1931 Statute of Westminster legally transformed Australia from a self-governing colony to a sovereign state when it was adopted by the Australian government in 1942, and was retroactively applied to Australian legislation from 1939 onwards, that is, from the beginning of WWII. This isn't a well-known fact among Australians, since, culturally, we place more importance on the 1901 federation of the six Australian colonies into the Commonwealth of Australia than we do the act of gaining legal independence from Britain. After all, most Australians can trace their heritage to Britain, and the Queen is still our official head of state.What were Australia's treaty obligations if not faced with an immediate or direct threat?
In the 50s and 60s Australia continued to militarily support Britain in the Malayan Emergency and the Indonesia-Malaysia Confrontation, but WWII had changed things. During WWII MacArthur had based himself in Australia, and in 1951 Australia, the US and NZ entered upon the ANZUS Treaty in the interests of collective security.