Foreign Arrangements Scheme
The Foreign Arrangements Scheme commenced on 10 December 2020. Its purpose is to ensure that arrangements between state or territory governments (and their entities) and foreign entities do not adversely affect Australia's foreign relations and are not inconsistent with Australia's foreign policy.
The Scheme provides for states and territories and their entities to notify or seek approval from the Minister for Foreign Affairs if they propose to negotiate, or enter, or have entered a foreign arrangement. It creates obligations in respect of both future arrangements and existing arrangements. It also deals with subsidiary arrangements entered into for the purposes of implementing a foreign arrangement.
The foreign arrangement scheme only applies to Australian public universities when they enter an arrangement with a foreign government, or a foreign university that does not have institutional autonomy. An arrangement is any written arrangement, agreement, contract, understanding or undertaking. It may be legally-binding or not legally-binding.
A foreign university does not have institutional autonomy if the foreign government exercises substantial control over that university. Under the act, a foreign government will be considered to exercise substantial control over a university if, and only if one or more of the following indicators are satisfied:
- A majority of the members of the university’s governing body are required, by a law or by the university’s governing documents, to be members of the political party that forms the foreign government or
- Education provided or research undertaken at the university is required, by a law or by the university’s governing documents, to adhere to, or be in service of, political principles or political doctrines of the foreign government or the political party that forms the foreign government or
- The university’s academic staff are required, by a law or by the university’s governing documents, to adhere to, or be in service of, political principles or political doctrines referred to in (b) above, in their teaching, discussions, publications or public commentary.
The circumstances described in (a), (b) and (c) above must be required by law or by the university’s governing documents for the foreign university to be considered to not have institutional autonomy.
The University is required to register all new and existing arrangements that meet the above criteria into an online portal so that they can be listed on the public register. For further information on the Foreign Relations Scheme, see the following links:
The University of Newcastle acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal, Darkinjung, Biripai, Worimi, Wonnarua, and Eora Nations. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.