One of the loudest critics of Australia’s bid for a temporary seat on the UN Security Council has been the opposition coalition.
It’s foreign affairs spokeswoman, Julie Bishop, says there are merits to Australia being on the council but she believes the bid has caused Canberra to focus attention on African and Carribean nations at the expense of it’s engagement in the Asia Pacific region.
Ms Bishop says the coalition supports the bid in principle, but not the way this government has gone about it.
“We are concerned there has been a redirection of aid – particularly to the Caribbean. The example that comes to mind is the $150,000 the government has promised for a statue to be built in the UN Plaza in New York to commemorate anti-slavery in the Caribbean. I question whether if that is the best way to spend Australian tax payer dollars and what does it do for Australia – let alone the people of the Caribbean. Secondly, countries have made it clear for example Syria made it clear on behalf of Arab league countries – that Australia couldn’t expect support unless Australia were less supportive of Israel and we have seen changes in the government’s support for Israel.”
The Labor Government is spending more than $25 million, with much more in indirect costs to secure a seat on the UN Security Council.
The UN Security Council is composed of 5 permanent members-China, France, Russian Federation, the United Kingdom and the United States, and 10 non permanent members-Azerbaijan, Colombia, Germany, Guatemala, India, Morocco, Pakistan, Portugal, South Africa and Togo.
Because the non permanent members do not have veto rights the UN Security Council is dominated by the 5 permanent members.