Today, the Coalition has successfully established a Senate inquiry to review Australia’s sanctions framework and consider how Australia’s sanctions regime could better align with key partners and allies.

Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Birmingham said as other like-minded partners forge ahead with applying critical sanctions on terrorist groups, rogue actors, criminals or those that support illegal war activities Australia has been left dragging its feet time and time again under the Albanese Labor Government.

“Applying sanctions in a time-effective and coordinated effort makes sense to increase their efficacy and strengthen their enforcement or penalties,” Senator Birmingham said.

“This inquiry will look at how Australia can get back on the front foot and better align with international partners to hold those conducting grievous activity to account.

“By acting in concert with other nations we multiply the impact of our actions, which is why we should strive to move with like-minded partners, not lag behind them.

“In Opposition Labor talked a big game on sanctions, including in response to human rights abuses in Xinjiang, but since being elected the Albanese Government has failed to live up to its rhetoric.”

“The inquiry will also consider mechanisms to freeze and confiscate assets and look at how proceeds can benefit those impacted by the behaviour of sanctioned individuals or entities.

“There must be a price paid by countries like Russia, the actions of which don’t just threaten Ukraine but have contributed to economic shocks around the world.

“I trust this inquiry will deliver practical findings that will assist in improving Australia’s sanctions framework.”

I thank the many civil society groups and academics who participated in consultations to develop the terms of reference for this inquiry.

The Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade References Committee is expected to report its finding in early February 2025.