In a move that’s widely been interpreted as Australia’s attempt to increase its engagement with the worldwide community, in New York, the Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has officially launched Australia’s latest bid for a temporary seat on the United Nations Security Council.
Ms Bishop announced earlier in the week that Australia was also campaigning for a spot on the Human Rights Council.
The opposition’s parliamentary secretary for foreign affairs, Matt Thistlethwaite, said the decision was an error of judgment on Bishop’s behalf.
Franç ois Cré peau, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, last week postponed an official visit to Australia because of what he said was a lack of cooperation from the government and worries the people who spoke to him about conditions faced by asylum seekers could risk imprisonment.
“We had advice from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and Mr Turnbull agreed this would be appropriate”, she said.
The bid cost about $25 million.
Australia served a two-year term on the security council which ended in December 2014.
JULIE BISHOP: Australia’s term on the Security Council in 2013-2014 demonstrated that elected members can play an active and constructive role.
She said that, on this occasion, Australian diplomats had longer to make their case.
In 2012 Abbott condemned the then prime minister, Julia Gillard, for “swanning around in New York talking to Africans” about the security council bid rather than going to Jakarta to talk about border protection policies.
She also led a draft resolution that would have set up an global tribunal to prosecute those suspected of downing a Malaysia Airlines MH17 in eastern Ukraine.
During her speech on Wednesday, Ms Bishop said: ‘We recognise that the United Nations needs more tools for peacebuilding, to help vulnerable states emerge from crisis and prevent them from falling back into violence and disorder.
“Australia chaired the al-Qaeda, Taliban and Iran sanctions committees and co-ordinated the council’s work on Afghanistan”.
In July, Russia, a permanent member, blocked a proposal supported by Australia to have the council establish a tribunal to prosecute anyone who might be charged as a result of the investigation into MH17. The bid was announced in 2008 while the two other candidates for the seat, Luxembourg and Finland, commenced their pitches in 2001 and 2002.
Bishop said estimates were that 30,000 foreigners from at least 100 countries had joined IS jihadists and Australia was “responding robustly” to the rising number of citizens travelling to join them.