Joint media statement:

  • The Hon Peter Dutton MP, Leader of the Opposition
  • The Hon Andrew Hastie MP, Shadow Minister for Defence


Two years ago, war returned to Europe. Many in the West finally awoke from the naïve dream of the ‘end of history’. The cruel reality of a return of history hit home as Russian troops poured across Ukraine’s border.

Russia’s invasion was illegal, immoral, and abominable. It was unprovoked, unjust, and unacceptable. It was a reminder that the days of despots are not gone; that the age of autocrats is not behind us.

Putin expected a quick victory. He thought the people of Ukraine would swiftly surrender.

But Putin miscalculated. He underestimated. He was wrong. For the people of Ukraine did not acquiesce – they resisted. They did not lay down their arms – they took aim. They did not cower in fear – they fought back with courage.

Amidst the heartache, horror and heroism of war, a man has continued to inspire his people, and in turn, imbibe their collective spirit – Volodymyr Zelenskyy. Zelenskyy reflected that Ukrainians made a choice on 24 February 2022 – ‘Not a white flag, but a blue and yellow flag.’

And during the past 730 days, we have heard their stories. Stories of Ukrainian defiance and stoicism, bravery and resolve, triumph and sacrifice.

On this second anniversary, we salute the unwavering strength of Ukrainians which has kept the belligerent advances of Russia at bay. And we mourn with Ukrainians for the displacement, casualties and fatalities they have suffered at the hands of a murderous dictator. Russia’s brutality has caused some 27,449 civilian casualties, including more than 10,000 civilian deaths.

President Zelenskyy has said that evil can overcome any distance and any barriers. He has importantly stated that the military assistance provided to Ukraine is not charity – it is an investment in global security and democracy.

Within two months of Russia’s invasion, the former Coalition Government delivered a comprehensive $285 million package of support for Ukraine.

That package comprised military assistance, including 40 Bushmaster armoured vehicles; humanitarian assistance for food, shelter and emergency medical equipment; and 79,000 tonnes of thermal coal to help Ukrainians keep their power on. We also provided visas for Ukrainians seeking shelter in Australia and applied over 800 sanctions on Russian individuals, entities, and their supporters.

The Coalition has given bipartisan support to every announcement made subsequent to Australia’s change in government. Regrettably, the Albanese Labor Government has not maintained the standard the Coalition set.

The Coalition calls on the Albanese Labor Government to:

  • Reverse their decision and donate Australia’s out of service MRH-90 Taipan helicopters to Ukraine, as requested in December 2023;
  • Reinstate an Australian embassy in Kyiv and join the more than 67 other diplomatic missions which have already returned;
  • Respond to the repeated requests Ukraine has made for the export of Australian coal to support their energy needs;
  • Ensure the swift finalisation of a Double Tax Agreement between Australia and Ukraine to support rebuilding; and
  • Urgently deliver a comprehensive strategy which outlines Australia’s ongoing commitment to Ukraine and ensures long-term, multi-year sustainable Australian support for Ukraine.

The Albanese Labor Government must switch from lagging behind our allies to leading the way when applying additional pressures upon Russia and immediately impose further sanctions and measures that will assist Ukraine.

Ukraine still needs our help. Australia – and all those countries who believe in law and liberty, sovereignty and security, peace and prosperity – must continue to provide that help to Ukraine.

It is not enough to say that we stand with Ukraine through our words. We must show that we stand with Ukraine through our deeds.

Ukrainians are not just fighting for their freedom – they are on the frontline of the battle for civilisation itself.

As the war enters its third year, may those profound words – ‘Slava Ukraini’ – renew our resolve to support the roar of Ukrainian resistance.