Joint media release:

  • Senator Susan McDonald, Shadow Minister for Resources

31 May 2024

The Coalition’s support for Ukraine in its war against Russia’s invasion is absolute and unwavering, which is why we welcome the Albanese Government’s commitment of an additional $31 million to support energy and humanitarian needs.

However, questions need to be answered by the government about why it’s taken six months to respond to a request for more coal, and why money in a fund is better for Ukraine than Australian coal on a ship, as Ukraine had requested.

This is a war and Australia’s responsiveness to Ukraine’s requests should be swift, not drawn out and delayed.

Ukraine’s request for coal gathered dust in Australia through one long, cold winter and the Albanese Government needs to explain how this funds transfer is preferable to giving the actual coal that Ukraine asked for.

Many will also wonder whether this announcement, just days before the foreign affairs portfolio appears at Senate estimates, has only been made after sustained pressure from Ukraine, the Ukrainian community, media and parliament.

Australia had sent coal previously, as agreed to by the Morrison Government who put Australia at the top of non-NATO contributors to Ukraine.

Australia has slipped down the list of contributors since and, while the Coalition maintains bipartisan support for every bit of support towards Ukraine, we do not resile from criticising the Albanese Government for taking too long to respond to requests, failing to show initiative in the type of support and not maintaining a leading level of support.

Ukraine’s war is not only about Ukraine, but about international respect for sovereignty and borders, along with demonstrating democratic determination to defeat authoritarian states when they attack others.