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Tuesday, 30 October 2012
Page: 12711

Mr HUNT (Flinders) (19:43): I want to address very briefly the role and the priorities for Australia within the United Nations Security Council. Let me begin with the very simple proposition that the role of the Security Council is, as it is most classically formulated under chapters VI and VII of the United Nations charter, in the preservation and maintenance of international peace, border security and good governance. In particular chapter VII of the charter gives the council responsibility to act in cases of a threat to the peace, a breach of the peace or an act of aggression.

It is my view that there should be three priorities for Australia during its time on the Security Council. Others will debate the whys and the wheres of the process over which there was a considerable series of questions for the government to answer, but looking forward there is an opportunity to express our commitment to practical international security in the following ways. Firstly, we need to focus on deep regional security issues.

In particular, I believe that means—and this is a personal view—that we should be working constructively, with China, the United States, ASEAN, India and Australia as part of this, towards a sea lanes partnership to help guarantee freedom of the seas, whether it is in the Strait of Hormuz, the Strait of Malacca or the Taiwan Strait. That is a personal goal, not a party policy. It is a long-term goal, and I think the Security Council could be an opportunity for that. Secondly, in terms of peacekeeping, we should try to export the Timor model. East Timor was an absolute model of everything we should look for in a successful peacekeeping mission. I recently returned. I saw the training, the discipline and the success of the Australians. Finally—because I will also have to speak in the House—our third area should be in countering terrorism and war crimes. I believe there is a role for the right to protect and the development of the formal Security Council mandate. I believe that we will have to take steps to deal with the war crimes which are clearly occurring in Syria now. Part of our role should be to make sure that there is a clear remit for a case to the international war crimes tribunal against the full leadership of those in Syria who are responsible. It is a short list, but it is a priority list: classic security, peacekeeping and making sure that we are protecting the human rights of those most at risk.