Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Current HansardDownload Current Hansard    View Or Save XMLView/Save XML

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Monday, 29 November 2004
Page: 36

Mrs MOYLAN (2:55 PM) —My question is to the Minister for Foreign Affairs. Would the minister inform the House of the government's position on recent political developments in the Ukraine?

Mr DOWNER (Minister for Foreign Affairs) —First, I thank the member for Pearce for her question. I appreciate the concern she shows about the situation in Ukraine. Just before question time today I met with the Ambassador of Ukraine and expressed yet again the Australian government's deep concern about the irregularities which clearly took place in the Ukrainian presidential elections on 21 November. It is clear from the reports of international observers that this election fell well short of international standards. There was a suspiciously high voter turnout in several regions. There was fraudulent use of absentee voting. State employees were pressured to vote for Mr Yanukovich, the Prime Minister. There was abuse of state resources and overt media bias. In these circumstances Australia cannot accept the official result. We cannot accept that this result reflects the will of the Ukrainian people. I note—and, as members of parliament, we should all note—that the Ukranian parliament has passed a resolution declaring the results invalid. The supreme court of the Ukraine will consider today whether the general election commission acted properly in declaring Mr Yanukovich the winner.

I can only make one other comment, which is that I would be pretty sure I spoke on behalf of all members of this parliament if I said that we have been pleased to see the people of Ukraine express their will in a very peaceful way through demonstrations in Kiev and other parts of the country. We very much hope that the differences that exist in Ukraine can be resolved satisfactorily and, more than that, they can be resolved according to the good principles of democracy and free and fair elections.