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6 May: The Week in Australian Foreign Affairs

06 May 2022
By Isabella Keith

This week in Australian foreign affairs: additional sanctions against Russia, Payne’s address to the US Studies Centre, and Payne’s joint statement with the Global Partnership on Gender-Based Online Harassment and Abuse on World Press Freedom Day.

On 4 May, Minister for Foreign Affairs Marise Payne announced additional sanctions and travel bans imposed against 110 individuals in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Those sanctioned are 34 senior members of the Russian-led Ukrainian separatist movements in Donetsk and Luhansk, and a further 76 Russian members of parliament. Payne stated that the leaders of the separatist movements “have violated the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine through their assertion of governmental authority over areas of Ukraine without the Ukrainian Government’s authorisation.” She further noted that some of the sanctioned members of parliament “voted in favour of the resolution calling for President Putin to recognise Donetsk and Luhansk as independent states.” These new listings mean that a total of 812 individuals and 47 entities have now been sanctioned by the Australian Government in response to the invasion.

Payne addressed the United States Studies Centre on 28 April, acknowledging the 70th anniversary of the ANZUS Treaty and noting that “[w]e are in the midst of the most significant and consequential realignment of our region since the Second World War”. She warned that “an arc of autocracy from Beijing to Moscow is challenging the rules-based world order” and that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine serves as “an important lesson for the Indo-Pacific, including the fact that international stability can easily be disrupted.” Payne announced a further $1 million in “voluntary contributions to assist the International Criminal Court’s investigations [into the downing of MH17]”. She further noted that “the Solomon Islands’ sovereign decision reflects the geostrategic reality of the time we are now in as China continues to seek a security presence in the Pacific.” Payne referred to the Australian Government’s three foreign policy principles “resilience, relationship and rules … [t]hat means resilience over reliance; relationships over vulnerable isolation; and rules over anarchy.” Payne further stated that “[Australia’s] foreign policy is firmly rooted in maintaining the long-term prosperity and security of the Australian people … we approach this era of strategic competition with confidence – confidence in our plan, confidence built on our record, confidence in Australia.”

On 3 May, Payne issued a joint statement acknowledging World Press Freedom Day through the Global Partnership on Gender-Based Online Harassment and Abuse, comprised of her counterparts from Denmark, the Republic of Korea, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The statement sought to “call attention to the pressing need for enhanced safety of women journalists and media workers” and noted that “[w]omen in journalism are disproportionately impacted by threats and attacks, which are more often gendered and sexualized than threats against their male counterparts and increasingly take place online.” The leaders urged “all states, media companies, workplaces, technology platforms and civil society groups to speak out against technology facilitated gender-based violence, to prevent and address all forms of violence against women journalists and media workers, both online and offline, and defend their ability to practice journalism freely and safely.”

Isabella Keith is a weekly columnist for Australian Outlook. She is also an undergraduate student at the Australian National University studying Law and Politics, Philosophy and Economics. Isabella’s research interests include international law and comparative constitutional law.

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