Foreign Minister Julie Bishop confirmed Australia will make a fresh bid for a seat on the United Nations Security Council, despite criticism that the Coalition has backflipped on its decision.
During a speech to the UN General Assembly on Wednesday (AEST), Ms Bishop unveiled the nation’s campaign for a 2029-30 seat, seeking to promote greater international co-operation to tackle global security challenges.
Speaking to Sky News before the meeting, Ms Bishop was reminded about Australia’s previous bid by former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd – attracting criticism for its $55 million price tag.
Ms Bishop said the current bid would not mean Australia would have to divert resources or change its foreign policy positions.
She would not reveal the cost, saying “the government didn’t intend on spending a great deal of money on it”.
“It won’t mean that our diplomats are taken away from what they should be doing to pursue a campaign in a short period of time. So it’s a measured approach,” Ms Bishop said.
She also confirmed the bid had received the backing of new PM Malcolm Turnbull.
Ousted Prime Minister Tony Abbott was said to be critical of Rudd’s decision when he was Opposition Leader, Sky News reported.
But, Ms Bishop said she had thought Australia should be on the Security Council “from time to time”.
“We believe 2029-2030 will be an appropriate time for Australia to return to the Security Council,’ she said.
Shadow Foreign Minister and Deputy Opposition Leader Tanya Plibersek labelled the timeframe as “unambitious”.
Ms Plibersek told ABC’s Radio National on Wednesday morning that Labor would not “play the game” in response to the bid, which came after strong opposition from the Coalition during Labor’s time in government.
“They were very critical of our attempt to win the United Nations Security Council seat but I’m glad they made an effort once it was won to participate,” she said.
“We would never criticise the government for saying that Australia should play a greater international role. It surprises me a little bit that we’re talking about 14 years, 15 years from now – that seems a little unambitious to me.”
Ms Bishop said the timeframe for the bid would allow the government the opportunity to campaign effectively.
– with ABC