Le Figaro newspaper reported that Thomas Camus was arrested after an argument with 32-year-old Kristopher Dixon became violent.
Dixon died at about 2am on Christmas morning close to a nightclub in the remote Western Australian tourist town of Broome.
Police had initially charged 22-year-old Camus with causing grievous bodily harm but later changed it to murder.
"The charge has been upgraded to murder," a spokesman for Western Australia police said Tuesday.
Camus appeared before magistrates in Broome on Tuesday via video link.
The Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported that he did not react when told the charge had been upgraded.
Camus will appear in court on January 18th in Perth.