At the end of 2018, direct investment between Canada and Australia was $40.9 billion, with Canadian direct investment in Australia at $31.2 billion and Australian direct investment in Canada at $9.7 billion. Australia is the eighth largest destination for Canadian direct investment abroad and the largest destination in Asia and Oceania. With its strong focus on Asia and a favourable business climate, Australia is seen by many Canadian companies as a good springboard for the booming Southeast Asian region. Australia was Canada`s 13th largest source of direct investment in 2018 and Asia`s fourth largest source after Japan, Hong Kong and China. The energy sector is the most important sector. The earliest ties between the two nations were the deportation of Canadian rebels that sparked an insurgency in Upper and Lower Canada to Australia. One hundred and fifty-four convicted rebels from Upper Canada were sent to Australian shores. Participants in the Upper Canadian rebellions were sent to the land of Van Diemen (now Tasmania). There are two monuments in Hobart, the capital of Tasmania, that recall the presence of Canadian convicts in Tasmania, one in Sandy Bay and the other in Prince`s Park, Battery Point. However, many of the differences between the two countries were reduced in 1972 with the election of Gough Whitlam as Prime Minister of Australia`s first Labor government since the 1940s.
Whitlam was skeptical of Australian foreign policy, particularly his unwavering loyalty to the declining British Empire and faith in American globalism, which seemed pitifully mismanaged. Whitlam was determined to seek a new direction and looked to Canada, a country he had often visited as Leader of the Opposition in the 1960s. He admired Mr. Trudeau`s determination to separate Canada from the United States and modernize Canada`s constitution, which quickly led to a simple and natural relationship between the two leaders. With Whitlam`s encouragement, many Australian officials travelled to Ottawa to study Canadian policy initiatives.