Foreign Minister Bob Carr announced on 28 June 2013 in Jakarta that Australia will provide $3 million over the next three years to help save the Sumatran Rhinoceros from extinction.
Senator Carr said the support over 2013-2016 will provide a much needed funding boost to existing projects that are already demonstrating results in protecting the Sumatran Rhino – the smallest of all rhinos and reportedly the most endangered rhino species.
“Australia is proud to be supporting environmental sustainability in Indonesia to help preserve this special species.
“Funding will be directed to projects that help to protect the rhino and its habitat and to provide work and skills for local people.
“Illegal logging and poaching is pushing the Sumatran Rhino towards extinction.
“While surviving in greater numbers than the Javan rhino, Sumatran rhinos are more threatened by poaching and there is no indication that the population is stabilising.
“Overall, Sumatran rhino numbers have more than halved between 1985 and 1995, with the total number now estimated at under 200.
“Tragically, most of these rhino populations are very small and may not be sustainable.
“The largest and possibly most viable populations are found in Sumatra, which is why we are targeting our efforts here,” Senator Carr said.
Over the next three years the Australian Government will provide funds to the World Wildlife Fund which will in turn direct support to projects that will achieve the best results.
Funding will be directed to projects that:
• help to protect rhino habitat
• strengthen anti-poaching efforts
• monitor the trade of rhino horns
• promote controlled and sustainable logging, and
• run programs to raise awareness of the plight of the Sumatran Rhino.
Foreign Minister Bob Carr and Minister for International Development Melissa Parke today announced Australia has granted an additional $1.8 million to support peace in Mindanao, southern Philippines.
‘Expanding our support for peace in Mindanao is a concrete statement of Australia’s concern for the poor of that long-suffering region, and our interest in the achievement of long-lasting peace,’ Senator Carr said.
Australia will give $1.3 million to the Mindanao Trust Fund to help improve livelihoods, health, and education in conflict-affected communities.
‘We commend the Philippine Government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front on their excellent progress towards peace. Australia is very proud to support their efforts. Peace is a pre-requisite for the development and poverty alleviation that is so sorely needed in this poverty-stricken part of the Philippines,’ Minister Parke said.
Australia will also provide $500,000 to the World Bank and UN to assist the Moro Islamic Liberation Front with training, policy advice and technical assistance to finalise the Bangsamoro Basic Law. This law will establish the new region of Bangsamoro, replacing the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao. Australia’s support will strengthen law, justice and governance, and help out with transition programs for former combatants.
‘Australia shares the hope of the Philippine Government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front that a peace agreement will end the decades-long conflict. We will continue to work with our partners and the people of Mindanao to ensure the benefits of peace are felt by all,’ Minister Parke said.
In recent years around half of Australia’s aid program in the Philippines has gone to Mindanao. Australian aid is introducing education opportunities in vulnerable and remote communities where school-based education has not been possible due to decades of ongoing conflicts.
In the past twelve months Australian aid has helped open over 400 Community Learning Centres, providing access to basic education to more than 11,000 children in Mindanao.
Australian aid is also boosting the ability of local communities and security forces in the southern Philippines to work together to better manage conflict situations, as well as bringing women’s voices into peace negotiations.
Check against delivery, acknowledgements omitted
I’d like to start by quoting someone familiar to you all.
Even for a Tory, Chris Patten has had a fascinating career – but he’s most famously remembered for his time here in Hong Kong.
In his 2008 book, What Next? Surviving the 21st Century, he takes the broadest of perspectives about the world we’re living in.
But he says something acutely personal about the role he played here in 1997:
As the last governor of a large British colony . . . I found myself wielding authority over mainly ethnically Chinese men and women, in an exercise of anonymous sovereignty that was recognised in quiet practice, though not in public declaration, by the future sovereign power in Beijing, a sovereign power from whose authority a large proportion of Hong Kong’s population had once fled.
There is menace in that thought.
The challenge, and fear, of a democratic government transferring sovereignty to an authoritarian power with an unknown – and unknowable – future mood.
The handover in 1997 was a powerful symbol of the great transition of our time.
The massive eastward shift in global economic and strategic gravity.
We’ve seen other symbols of that change, since then –
• The Global Financial Crisis
• China emerging as the second largest economy in the world
• China emerging as a lender to the debtors of the developed world
But – perhaps because of the long arch of history involved in the handover – Hong Kong’s return to China in 1997 seems such an intimate, human symbol of that change.
The China story is the narrative of our times – and the fate of Hong Kong is a unique, integral, distinct and symbolic part of that narrative.
This is the great story.
When I get together with other foreign ministers in Asia, what we talk about is China.
We agree on the topic.
But there is plenty of disagreement about China’s prospects and its aims and intentions.
Where is China heading?
How fast can it continue to grow?
Does it want to reshape the international system? How and to what extent?
Can it re-balance its economy?
What sort of a power will China be in twenty or thirty years’ time?
How will its society, economy and political system evolve?
Today, wisely, I won’t attempt to solve all those puzzles.
The success of Hong Kong
But what has happened in Hong Kong since 1997 gives us some cause for optimism.
I don’t want to overstate the successes.
Much work remains to be done if Hong Kong is to come to enjoy the full fruits of democratic freedom, particularly universal suffrage.
But 16 years after the handover, citizens of Hong Kong enjoy a high degree of autonomy.
Marches and demonstrations take place.
Between March 28 and early May, the long-running sit-in protest by the Union of Hong Kong Dockers was ultimately successful.
Thousands of protestors were involved, pushing for a 17 per cent pay rise – and achieved nearly 10 per cent.
On June 4, the annual Tiananmen Square vigil attracted tens of thousands of people – despite heavy rain.
The Hong Kong press remains lively, its efforts supported by legislators.
In the courts, Hong Kong retains an active and independent judiciary.
As I say – I do not want to overstate the successes.
The health of democracy in Hong Kong remains a live issue.
Australia’s social, political and economic links with Hong Kong give us a substantial stake in its continuing success under the “one country, two systems” formula.
But Hong Kong has been – and remains – an extraordinary success.
We in Australia have known Hong Kong’s importance for decades.
For us, it has been a bridge into greater China.
Australia’s sixth most important source of total foreign investment ($42 billion, 2012)
Our 15th largest market for goods exports ($2.6 billion) – and an important market for services ($1.7 billion, 2012).
Our leading business base in East Asia.
With more Australians living here than any place in the world, outside of Australia and – of course – London.
90,000 Australians live here – and nearly as many (75,000) people from Hong Kong live in Australia.
Hong Kong has built its stability and prosperity on transparency, the rule of law and a high standard of civil and political freedoms.
Australia strongly supports the democratic principles embodied in Hong Kong’s Basic Law.
We support progress towards the Basic Law’s goal of universal suffrage as soon as practicable, in accordance with the legitimate aspirations of the citizens of Hong Kong.
China has recognised Hong Kong’s importance.
Its value as a trading and financial hub.
That foreign businesses come here relying on the rule of law, even as they seek to make closer access into mainland China.
In the end, Hong Kong’s success would be imperilled by any heavy-handed approach that unwound the rule of law and freedoms on which it relies.
Likewise, China’s success depends on the leadership’s efforts to open up China’s economy and society more broadly.
For me, Hong Kong is a symbol of what might be achieved, if China is successful in its efforts to drive reform.
China’s reform agenda
I’d like to talk about that reform – China’s economic and political reform – in my remarks today.
Australia is supportive of China’s growing prosperity and development.
We welcome its re-emergence.
It is worth reminding ourselves of this fundamental point.
China’s development and its increasing enmeshment with the international system has been an explicit aim of Australian policy since the 1970s.
And the policy of other governments, including the US.
We did not make it happen – credit lies with the Chinese people – but we have assisted, welcomed and benefitted from China’s rise.
We have got what we wanted.
We now see a more prosperous and stable China, one that is becoming more integrated into the global system, as befits China’s growing power and influence.
As this Australian Government has said and reaffirmed in successive statements, including this from the Asian Century White Paper:
We welcome China’s rise, not just because of the economic and social benefits it has brought China’s people and the region (including Australia) but because it deepens and strengthens the entire international system.
Understandably, in Australia, we focus on how the changes wrought in China affect us – Australia’s economy, our jobs, our future security and prosperity.
We are learning about engaging with and adapting to a re-emerging great power.
For China, a position of influence on and deep engagement with the outside world is not new.
I have spoken before about the re-emergence of China and India as economic powers.
Having fallen in relative stature to western industrialised nations over the last two hundred years, China, like India, continues to rise.
It has not just transformed itself but the world around it.
American scholars Nathan and Scobell in their book China’s Search for Security argue China is one of only a few countries with significant interests in all parts of the world, whose voice must be heard on every global problem.
As they say:
Great power is a vague term, but China deserves it by any measure: the extent and strategic location of its territory, the size and dynamism of its population, the value and growth rate of its economy, its massive share of global trade, the size and sophistication of its military, the reach of its diplomatic interests, and its level of cultural influence.
Before the transformation unleashed by its economic reform program, China had the size and the population of course, but not the dynamism, the economic growth, the trading interests, the cultural influence or the military sophistication.
As you know, I accompanied then Prime Minister Gillard to China in April.
The Government achieved a long-standing objective.
We created new bilateral architecture to underpin the further development of our relationship.
With China, we agreed to conduct annual leader level meetings.
To establish an annual foreign and strategic dialogue between foreign ministers.
And an annual strategic economic dialogue between the Treasurer and the Minister for Trade and Competiveness with the Chairman of China’s National Development and Reform Commission.
We want regular and structured high-level contact with China’s leaders.
So we can discuss our growing range of common interests, and deal with differences that arise.
This government-to-government framework will be important.
But it is only a part of a growing web of connections between our countries.
Like our increasing financial links – look at direct trading between our currencies, and the Australian Reserve Bank’s decision to hold 5 per cent of its reserves in Renminbi.
Businesses, students, tourists, academics, artists and others will join governments at all levels in forging the future of our relationship with China.
A society transformed
When I look at China today, even though I have visited many times, and read countless books, I am still astonished by the pace of change.
Change we’ve already seen – and change still coming.
We take for granted, it seems, the modern cities, the rapidly expanding e-commerce market, the freedom of Chinese to travel abroad in record numbers, the very fast trains, the space program and more besides.
There are other markers of change, some well-known, others less so, including the rapid ageing of China’s population.
The number of 15- to 24- year-olds, the mainstay of factories, will fall by a third by 2025, to 162 million by 2025.
Those aged 65 and over will surge 72 per cent to 196 million.
Young Chinese will be under greater pressure than ever before to support their parents and grandparents.
China will grow old before it grows rich.
China is still a developing country.
But its per capita GDP has jumped from US$202 in 1980 – to $6,076 in 2012.
Since that time, China’s economy has grown by 2,000 per cent and its per capita income has increased nearly 30-fold.
In reducing poverty and gender inequality, and improving health and education, China has made great strides.
China is one of only a few developing countries that is on track to achieve the millennium development goals.
In that time, China has moved from being peripheral to global flows of trade and investment to the central player it is today.
From a country that was largely isolated, poor and deeply suspicious of the outside world, to one that is at the heart of global commerce, increasingly wealthy and more open to outside influences than arguably it has ever been.
I also know that this transformation is incomplete and has brought with it new problems and challenges, as China’s leaders are at pains to point out.
China is well on the way to becoming an urban society.
13 million people each year, nearly half our national population, move from country to city.
Two-thirds of Chinese – up from half – will live in cities by 2030.
We all know that this process of change will rely, in part, on the resources and energy which Australia will continue reliably to supply.
But it goes beyond resources.
As the then Australian Prime Minister said in Beijing in April:
I want China to find in Australia a welcome friend rich in the skills and knowledge which underpin civic life: from regulatory and legal standards for urban planning and construction, to health and welfare services, to complex infrastructure like water management and sanitation.
Chinese society is renowned for the importance it attaches to education.
The effort expended in acquiring knowledge, remains it seems to me a sign of virtue.
It’s not just how much you know, but how hard you work and the sacrifices you make that matter.
Chinese society is now debating whether its current methods and its current examination system will give it the sort of graduates it needs in the future.
How to foster creativity and critical thinking.
However this develops, I think we can be sure that the Chinese we deal with in the future will be better educated than ever before.
6.8 million Chinese graduated from university in 2012; it was just 926,000 in 1995.
China produced nearly 49,000 PhDs in 2010 up from just over 14,000 in 2002, and 90 per cent of these doctorates were in science and engineering.
China won’t eclipse the United States as a generator of ideas and scientific research, but it will catch up fast.
By 2030, China is expected to have up to 200 million college graduates, more than the entire workforce of the United States.
More significantly, China is now second only to the US in terms of academic papers published, and could take first place by 2020.
That progress is reflected in China’s scientific and technological prowess.
The return of the three-person crew of Shenzhou (shen – joe) 10 from Earth orbit, with a spectacular landing in the Gobi Desert.
This was the fifth Chinese crew to orbit Earth and the second to dock with China’s space station.
Only three countries have human spaceflight programs: the US, Russia and China.
Today, China is the only country with a lunar human spaceflight program.
Mission by mission, China is building the technical capacity and flight experience to make it a leading space-faring nation.
It appears likely that the next words spoken on the moon will be in Mandarin.
And at home, the massive Chinese retail market is changing.
Half a billion Chinese are online.
On current trends, in 5 years, one in six people on the internet will be Chinese.
China is set to overtake USA as the biggest online retail market by 2015, exceeding US$335 billion, and the biggest overall retail market by 2016.
By 2022, China will probably account for almost one quarter of global retail sales.
And already, there are more tourists from China than any other country.
Chinese overtook Americans and Germans in 2012 as the world’s top international tourism spenders, with 83 million people spending a record US$102 billion.
By 2015, 100 million Chinese will travel abroad, according to the UN.
Its people are engaging with the world, making contacts globally and influencing the outside just as they have in turn been influenced.
As President Nixon said in 1967, five years before his historic visit to China: there is no place on this small planet for a billion of its potentially most able people to live in angry isolation.
Well, these able people are now shaping the world around them.
And there’s no going back.
Reform challenge for the new leadership
But as its own leaders freely admit, China faces immense economic, social and environmental challenges:
How to tackle corruption.
How to sustain economic growth while rebalancing the economy towards a more sustainable growth path.
How to reduce the dominance of state owned enterprises in key sectors of the economy.
How to deal with the environmental damage caused by breakneck development.
The urgency of reform has been a constant refrain from China’s leaders.
On the economic front, the signals and indications are positive.
But the reform task now has a complexity that Deng and others did not face.
Greater internal and external scrutiny, higher public expectations and a wider array of vested interests.
Over decades, China has built a legal system.
Now, Premier Li has made deregulation a prominent goal of his administration.
He has said: we must leave to the market what the market can handle, and entrust to the society what society can do.
I won’t predict how successful this economic reform will be.
In recent weeks The Wall St Journal sounded a pessimistic note.
The Journal argued the old economic model – export and investment-led – was starting to run out of steam.
That the financial straitjackets imposed by the state – and cheap loans to manufacturers – were depressing, rather than supporting, consumer spending.
That household consumption as a proportion of GDP was actually shrinking.
As I say, I won’t predict how successful China’s economic reform will be.
But my dealings with China’s new leaders tell me that they are determined, confident and pragmatic, important attributes given the difficulty of the reform challenge they confront.
The economic transformation that China is undertaking will have profound consequences.
Changing patterns of trade, investment and consumption in China suggest greater, but also different, opportunities for Australia.
More opportunities for agricultural exporters as Chinese consume more meat and dairy products.
More opportunities for services exporters, including in aged care, insurance, financial services and urban design.
Continuing demand for a stable supply of energy and natural resources.
A re-balanced Chinese economy might mean, however, lower levels of growth.
Though we are optimistic about China’s economic trajectory, we are not naïve.
Much will depend on the reforms being debated in China at present.
These will need to include greater access for foreign companies in key sectors, including in services.
And a more stable and transparent regulatory environment, with better protections for intellectual property, as investors everywhere demand.
Political reform is another vital question – and an unavoidable dilemma for China’s leaders.
Clearly, what China’s leaders mean by political reform and how the term is understood in countries such as Australia are very different.
President Xi has made tackling corruption a major theme, saying that “power should be reined in within the cage of regulations”.
Premier Li has spoken of the prospects for reforming the re-education through labour system.
There has also been much discussion within China and internationally about President Xi’s ‘China dream’.
How will this dream balance the aspirations and rights of individuals with China’s national goals?
In Australia, we believe that a China that better respects and protects human rights, that fully adheres to its human rights commitments, will be a stronger China.
The rights of individuals and their protection under law will not weaken the Chinese nation but strengthen it.
We can see the pressure for change on key issues, such as air pollution and food safety.
Chinese citizens want improvements in their daily lives and hold government officials to account.
China’s transformed society has growing demands and an expectation that it can debate issues freely and openly.
This is now the context in which further debate about reform will take place.
China’s engagement with the world
Which brings me to China’s engagement with the world.
At present, we are seeing a concerted charm offensive.
Witness the array of world leaders travelling to Beijing since the transition.
The competition for China’s time, attention and cooperation is intense.
Australia’s new bilateral architecture will give us the sort of regular high-level interaction we need to manage our growing range of interests with China, just as the demands on the Chinese system intensify.
What we were able to achieve was the sort of mechanism we have not had before and very few other nations have to enable systematic, high-level discussions.
We have much more than bilateral issues to discuss.
We are working with China in the United Nations Security Council on issues such as North Korea.
Next year Australia hosts the G20, in which we cooperate closely with China.
Next year, too, China will host APEC, a forum that has always been important to Australian diplomacy.
Looking ahead, our engagement on foreign and strategic issues will be more intense and cover a wide array of subjects.
We want to continue discussions with all key countries in the region about common challenges, including those of a strategic nature.
Even on issues that cause tension, such as maritime disputes, there are important principles that ought to be discussed at regional forums, such as the East Asia Summit.
We don’t take a position on competing maritime claims in the South or East China seas.
But we do rely on freedom of navigation in this region for our security and prosperity.
We continue to call on all parties, including but not only China, to resolve their differences through peaceful means, in accordance with international law.
Australia’s Defence White Paper sets out clearly our view that the US – China relationship is the most important determinant of our strategic outlook.
We know there will be competition between these two great countries.
But we also know that the level of cooperation, economic integration and engagement is significant and growing.
David Shambaugh, recently wrote in The New York Times:
China’s most important relationship (with the United States) … is now a combination of tight interdependence, occasional cooperation, growing competition and deepening distrust.
I don’t think the picture is quite that bleak.
My discussions with key figures in Beijing and Washington make it clear that both sides are profoundly aware that they have a stake in the other.
Both sides are looking to increase, not limit, their cooperation.
And they are both looking at building a stronger relationship at the political level.
We focus naturally on China’s impact on the outside world.
But it is the internal challenges that preoccupy China’s leaders.
Even as China’s global influence grows, the leadership will be internally-focused.
Consumed with the challenge of development, economic transformation and meeting the demands and aspirations of a better educated and more globally connected population.
China is already a major power and one whose influence will increase.
We are preparing for a future in which China is more prosperous and more influential.
China’s development as a constructive regional and global player is something we welcome and believe will be to the great benefit of our country and people.
Foreign Minister Bob Carr yesterday, July 25, began a 10-day visit to boost bilateral ties and economic links with China.
Senator Carr will have a series of high-level meetings in China, including in Hong Kong, Sichuan, Chongqing and Fujian.
In Hong Kong, he will meet Chief Executive C Y Leung, Chief Secretary for Administration Carrie Lam, Chief Justice Geoffrey Ma, Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Raymond Tam and Jasper Tsang, President of Legislative Council.
Senator Carr said he would address the Australian Chamber of Commerce and the Asia Society.
“Australia has extensive interests in Hong Kong, built on strong links between our people and long-standing trade and investment ties,” Senator Carr said.
“Hong Kong is our leading business base in East Asia with 90,000 Australians living there.
“Hong Kong was also our sixth largest source of total foreign investment in 2012 and an important export market for Australia.”
In Chengdu, Senator Carr said he will open Australia’s new Consulate-General – a key initiative in the Rudd Government’s plan for Australia to seize opportunities opening up in China’s fast-growing inland provinces.
“As the capital of Sichuan, Chengdu provides a direct link to a province which is home to over 80 million people,” Senator Carr said.
“It is also a major gateway to the vibrant inland regions, which account for a growing share of China’s trade, foreign investment and economic growth.
“Many Australian companies are already active in western China, along with firms from around the world.
“Cities like Chengdu and Chongqing will be central to the innovative, high-skill, high-tech, high-income growth which will drive the next stage of China’s remarkable economic transformation.”
Across the three provinces, Senator Carr will meet provincial and municipal leaders, and engage Australian business representatives.
In Fujian, Senator Carr will raise Australia’s profile in this emerging coastal provincial market for Australian products and services.
Planned investments in infrastructure and city planning projects, aimed at strengthening cross-strait economic engagement, will provide new opportunities for Australian businesses across a range of sectors.
Minister for Foreign Affairs, Senator Bob Carr, and Minister for International Development, Melissa Parke MP, today announced a further $21.5 million in humanitarian assistance for people affected by the deteriorating situation in Syria.
This brings Australia’s total humanitarian assistance in response to the crisis in Syria to $100 million since June 2011. Australia remains one of the top ten donors to those in need in Syria and regional countries hosting Syrian refugees.
‘Violence and human suffering continue unabated in Syria with over 93,000 killed and 6.8 million people in need of humanitarian assistance,’ Minister Carr said.
The impact on the region is grave and 1.8 million refugees, mostly women and children, have already fled Syria. A refugee exodus of this size has not been seen since the Rwandan genocide almost 20 years ago.
‘Many vulnerable people need urgent help,’ said Minister Parke. ‘This additional Australian assistance will benefit people inside Syria and also those who have fled to neighbouring countries like Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey.’
Inside Syria, Australia’s new contribution will help United Nations organisations deliver desperately needed basic services.
• $5 million to World Food Programme will help maintain emergency food supplies to three million people
• $3 million to World Health Organisation will help address critical shortages in medical supplies
• $3 million to the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) will help ensure drinking water is safe and 2.5 million children are vaccinated
• $1 million to the UN Population Fund will help provide reproductive health care and psycho-social support for over 1 million vulnerable women and children.
‘The crisis is destabilising the region. Our contribution will help ease the suffering and go some way to reduce the burden of sheltering these refugees,’ Minister Carr said.
• $5 million to the UN’s refugee agency (UNHCR) will help protect and shelter one million refugees in Jordan and Lebanon
• $4 million to Australian NGOs will help their lifesaving work among Syrian refugees
• $0.5m will support the deployment of Australian expertise in aid coordination.
Minister Parke also appealed to Australians to continue to support the work of accredited Australian NGOs in direct donations. ‘Australian NGOs are doing magnificent work supporting the victims affected by the Syrian conflict. Additional funding from the Australia government is our contribution to these efforts.’
Information on Australian NGO appeals for the Syrian crisis can be found at: http://www.acfid.asn.au/aid-issues/humanitarian-response
Foreign Minister, Bob Carr, and Minister for International Development, Melissa Parke, today announced Australia would help support 8,000 operations to restore the sight of people in the Pacific.
‘This is an area where Australian aid is making a real difference to people’s lives and the prosperity of communities in our region,’ Senator Carr said.
The procedures will be delivered through the third phase of the Pacific Regional Blindness Prevention Program—a partnership with the New Zealand Aid Programme and Fred Hollows Foundation New Zealand.
Newly appointed Minister for International Development, Melissa Parke, said the program would provide immediate and important benefits to those who suffer blindness, as well as long-term economic gains for Pacific countries.
‘In developing countries, the economic benefits of eliminating avoidable blindness and visual impairment outweigh the costs by a factor of four to one,’ Ms Parke said.
Australia has committed $2.5 million over the next three years for the avoidable blindness program. This will allow more than 30,000 patient consultations and 8,000 sight-restoring operations to take place across the Pacific.
Fifty-six nurses and 16 community health workers will also be trained in eye care through the Fiji-based Pacific Eye Institute.
Solomon Islanders make up the largest number of students and graduates from the Pacific Eye Institute. Four ophthalmologists and 19 eye nurses have already been trained, and two more nurses are set to graduate this year.
Ms Parke said as a result, more than 500 sight-restoring surgeries are expected to be performed in Solomon Islands during 2013.
‘In addition to restoring vision and changing individual lives, there are important social benefits that come from these surgeries,’ Ms Parke said.
‘The carers of the blind and partially blind, for instance, are mostly women and girls. Following a sight-restoring procedure, the carers also become liberated to go to school or out to work.’
Senator Carr and Ms Parke are in Honiara, Solomon Islands for the 10th anniversary of the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI).
The Australian Government has expressed serious concerns at the conviction and sentencing of Russian opposition figure Alexey Navalny.
The conviction raises concerns regarding the selective application of the law. It is troubling that Mr Navalny was sentenced on the basis of apparently questionable evidence.
The Australian Government calls on the Russian Government to ensure the highest standards of impartiality and transparency are applied in any appeals process in this case, and in the cases of the Bolotnaya Square protestors who are still awaiting trial.
The Australian Embassy in Moscow has been requested to immediately communicate these concerns to the Russian administration.