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Monday, 3 March 2014
Page: 1314


Mr SHORTEN (MaribyrnongLeader of the Opposition) (14:00): My question is to the Prime Minister. Can the Prime Minister update the House on the situation in Ukraine? What response has Australia advocated through our role on the United Nations Security Council?

Mr ABBOTT (WarringahPrime Minister) (14:00): The situation in the Ukraine is fluid and it is threatening. It is something that all Australians are rightly concerned about and that people right around the world are rightly concerned about. I can inform the House that this morning the Russian ambassador was called into the department of foreign affairs to be told in no uncertain terms what Australia thinks about this aggression against an independent country. I can inform the House that a visit to Russia by the Minister for Trade and Investment will not go ahead and I can further inform the House that a visit to Australia by the Russian national security adviser likewise will not go ahead.

Unprovoked aggression should have no place in our world. Russia should back off; it should withdraw its forces from the Ukraine. The people of the Ukraine ought to be able to determine their future themselves. That is what should happen.

Mr Shorten: Madam Deputy Speaker, on indulgence: I associate the opposition with the Prime Minister's remarks. Today, our thoughts are with all the people of Ukraine. We understand that people of all faiths and backgrounds have worked hard to create a Ukrainian democracy. Our thoughts are also with the Australian Ukrainian community, who are very concerned for the wellbeing of their family in that valiant, proud nation. Again, the opposition supports the actions of the government.