Victoria did not consult the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade before signing a controversial infrastructure deal with the Chinese government last year
Man as someone from the country which often gets confused for Australia I sure didn't know who Victoria was when reading the headline.
While the act itself is obviously concerning, is this actually illegal? Do states in AU have to consult this department before signing deal with foreign nations?
It's not illegal for Victoria to sign an agreement with China without consulting DFAT. However, it is very impolite to have done so without at least informing the Commonwealth government beforehand.
For Victoria to have kept the federal government out of the loop in this case is bad. Very bad. So very very very bad.
When it comes to foreign policy, the federal government has primary responsibility in Australia. Therefore, it should at the very least be kept informed of agreements involving foreign powers, and should probably have been consulted and asked for advice before signing.
If individual states are going to do their own thing, that undermines any attempt by the Australian government to have a consistent foreign policy.