• Joint statement with The Hon Michael McCormack MP, Shadow Minister for International Development and the Pacific

The Coalition welcomes the release and return back to Australia of Professor Sean Turnell. He should never have been detained in the first place.


Professor Turnell’s release and return home finally brings to an end what, for many, has been a long and painful saga.


This will be a time of great joy and relief for Professor Turnell and his loved ones, none more so than his wife Ha Vu.


We share with all Professor Turnell’s supporters the joy that his unjustified detention has come to an end.


The Coalition acknowledges the efforts of the Government to raise Professor Turnell’s case and its work to see him return home to Australia. This built upon the strong advocacy of the former Government, particularly the former minister for foreign affairs, Senator Marise Payne.


We thank all of those who have worked so patiently, carefully and tirelessly to secure this outcome, and acknowledge the numerous other nations who have also advocated for his release.


We also acknowledge the willingness of the Government to continue the practice of providing regular, confidential briefings to the Opposition on the situation in Myanmar and Professor Turnell’s case.


The Coalition strongly criticised the charges against Professor Turnell and the secrecy of his trial. That concern extends to others who have been detained in Myanmar and also subjected to secret trials.


While Professor Turnell’s release, and that of some others who had been detained, is welcome the abuse of human rights and suppression of democracy in Myanmar remains of grave concern.


The Australian Government must be resolute in its opposition to the human rights abuses occurring and consistent in supporting those oppressed. It should consider stepping up efforts against the military regime, including the imposition of autonomous sanctions.


The Coalition continues to offer support to the Government to impose suitable sanctions and to encourage other like-minded nations, especially those of ASEAN nations, to send a clear message to the military junta.


The situation in Myanmar remains extremely difficult and the Coalition again strongly urges for the restoration of genuine democracy and the respect of human rights for all citizens of Myanmar.


We welcome Professor Turnell home and respect the privacy of him and his family at this time.