Australia in Tonga

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Note: For budgetary reasons, most sections of this Briefing Book, other than Australian Defence Facilities ceased being updated in December 2010. 



Australia has an extensive Defence Cooperation Program with the island nations of the Pacific, and since the late 1990s has extended its deployment of police, military and intelligence personnel in the region.

Australia only has a small number of personnel regularly deployed in the Kingdom of Tonga, including a Maritime Surveillance Adviser under the Pacific Patrol Boat Program, and Australian Federal Police (AFP) officers in training operations with the Tonga Police Force. As with other island nations, Australia funds a range of military exercises, officer training programs and infrastructure projects to support the Tonga Defence Services (TDS).

The most recent deployment of Australian police and military forces to Tonga came in November 2006, following rioting in the capital Nuku’alofa, which led to the looting and arson of key parts of the central business district. Australian troops (Operation Quickstep) and police (Operation Tokoni) were deployed to Tonga in November-December 2006 as part of a Joint Task Force with New Zealand, under NZ leadership, to assist with the aftermath of the rioting.

Given ongoing debates over democratic reform in the Kingdom, the Australian deployment has set a significant precedent for operations by the ADF and AFP in support of the government and monarchy in Tonga.


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Australian Forces Abroad: Australia in Tonga


    • Kingdom of Tonga – context
    • Australian policy
    • ADF and AFP operations in Tonga
    • Australian Defence Force elements in Tonga
      • Australian Army
      • Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF)
      • Royal Australian Navy (RAN)
    • Command
    • Intelligence
    • Legal
    • Australian Federal Police (AFP)
    • ADF and AFP activities
    • Coalition forces


Project coordinator: Richard Tanter

Project researcher: Nic Maclellan


See also:

Australia in the Pacific Islands

Australia in Solomon Islands


Nautilus Institute gratefully acknowledges the financial support for this project by the International Centre for Research Excellence in the Asia-Pacific (ICEAPS).