Annual Report 2008-2009
 

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Your location: Performance > Outcome 1 > Output 1.1 > 1.1.9 International organisations, legal and environment

OUTPUT 1.1: Protection and advocacy of Australia's international interests through the provision of policy advice to ministers and overseas diplomatic activity

1.1.9 International organisations, legal and environment

On this page: Overview :: United Nations :: Environment :: International law :: Treaties and outreach :: Human rights :: People smuggling and trafficking :: Avian and pandemic influenza :: Commonwealth :: Outlook

Overview

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The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr Smith, at the United Nations Parliamentary Association inaugural meeting with the association chair Ms Melissa Parke and the National President of the UN Association of Australia, Mr John Langmore (left), in Canberra on 11 March 2009.
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The department developed and implemented a whole-of-government campaign strategy for Australia’s candidacy for a non-permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) for the 2013–2014 term, which the Prime Minister announced in March 2008. The department supported extensive lobbying by the Government to promote the bid.

The department led the Government’s reinvigoration of the Bali Process on People Smuggling, Trafficking in Persons and Related Transnational Crime (the Bali Process) including through the Ambassador for People Smuggling Issues. The Bali Process, which Australia co-chairs with Indonesia, has been an important vehicle for closer dialogue with regional partners to encourage measures to prevent people smuggling and human trafficking. Our overseas network also contributed to garnering regional support for efforts to prevent people smuggling through high-level advocacy and representations.

We and the Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts implemented the Government’s whale conservation initiatives, working closely with the Special Envoy for Whale Conservation. We secured greater international support for conservation-oriented reform of the International Whaling Commission and supported intensified bilateral dialogue with Japan.

We sought to improve the UN Human Rights Council’s response to urgent human rights situations by engaging with Council members and other interested countries. The Government’s announcement on 3 April 2009 of Australia’s support for the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples generated a wide and positive response from Indigenous peoples, other countries and the global media.

United Nations

The department implemented the Government’s commitment to revitalising Australia’s engagement with the United Nations, which lies at the core of the multilateral system. We supported attendance by the Prime Minister, Mr Rudd, and the Foreign Minister, Mr Smith, at the opening of the 63rd session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in September 2008. The Prime Minister delivered Australia’s national statement to UNGA and also spoke at the High-level Meeting on the Millennium Development Goals. The Foreign Minister represented Australia at the High-level Meeting on Africa’s Development Needs.

The department strongly supported, including through a dedicated task force, the whole-of-government campaign to secure a non-permanent seat on the UNSC for the 2013–2014 term. We supported advocacy by the Government and took forward Australia’s claims to a seat through bilateral representations and at relevant multilateral meetings. The campaign reflected the Government’s renewed emphasis on engaging the multilateral system and seeking global solutions to global challenges.

The department continued to work through the UN for the enhancement of regional and global security. We took a leading role in building consensus on including the protection of civilians in the mandates for UN peacekeeping operations. We continued to support the ‘Responsibility to Protect’ (R2P) principle. The Foreign Minister announced in August 2008 the establishment of an Australian R2P Fund to support projects or research which will contribute to consolidation and operationalisation of R2P.

We continued to push for the reform and strengthening of UN structures and working methods to improve the effectiveness, efficiency and accountability of its operations. Australia chaired negotiations on UN human resources management in UNGA, which approved amended regulations in March 2009 to improve the UN’s ability to recruit and retain qualified staff, particularly in field missions.

Australia deepened its engagement in interfaith initiatives at the UN, becoming a full member of the UN Ministerial Meeting on Interfaith Dialogue and Cooperation for Peace in November 2008, and attending the Second Forum of the UN Alliance of Civilizations in Istanbul in April 2009. Comprising more than 75 countries, the alliance works to combat extremism by fostering cross-cultural and religious understanding.

The department continued to support Australian candidacies for senior UN positions. In November 2008, Professor Ron McCallum AO was elected to the inaugural Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, after Australia became one of the first countries to ratify the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in July 2008. Another Australian, Mr Ian Govey, was re-elected to the Governing Council of the International Institute for the Unification of Private Law. Dr Francis Gurry, now the most senior Australian in any UN agency, was confirmed as the Director-General of the World Intellectual Property Organization in September 2008.

Personal Profile:

Andrew Goledzinowski

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Andrew Goledzinowski
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With the Government’s enhanced focus on multilateral diplomacy, the role of Australia’s Mission to the United Nations in New York has taken on a greater importance. As Deputy Permanent Representative since August 2008, Andrew Goledzinowski (left, meeting UN Secretary-General Mr Ban Ki-moon) has helped coordinate the work of the mission team across a wide and growing range of issues.

The UN agenda typically focuses on those problems that cannot be tackled effectively through bilateral or regional diplomacy. This includes everything from human rights to climate change, peace-building to democracy, and development to disarmament. The main work of the mission involves advocating Australia’s positions, engaging with UN institutions and building diverse coalitions of states to address these problems. Andrew brings to this task significant multilateral experience, including as a UN election monitor in South Africa, deputy at Australia’s Mission to the UN in Geneva, Chief of Staff to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, and Senior Adviser to the World Bank in post-war Iraq.

‘A very wide range of issues and an extremely challenging agenda lie before the UN. Reaching agreement on these issues and advocating Australia’s interests requires optimism and creativity as much as it does patience and perseverance.’

We coordinated Australia’s support for the successful candidature of former New Zealand Prime Minister, Helen Clark, as Administrator of the UN Development Program (UNDP). This support reflected the Government’s commitment to working closely with the UNDP to achieve genuine progress towards the Millennium Development Goals.

The department continued to lead Australia’s engagement in the work of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). This year the Australian National Commission for UNESCO was reconstituted to give the Commission a greater strategic policy focus and to increase awareness of UNESCO activities in the community and among other government agencies. The Australian National Commission acts as a point of liaison within Australia for contact between UNESCO, government and the community.

In addition to leading Australia’s engagement in the UN Democracy Fund, we supported regional and international democracy initiatives. In December 2008, the Prime Minister co-chaired the inaugural Bali Democracy Forum with Indonesia’s President, Mr Yudhoyono. Thirty-two countries were represented at the Forum, which aims to strengthen democratic institutions through dialogue and information-sharing. We led the Government’s participation in the Asia-Pacific Democracy Partnership election observer missions to Mongolia and Bangladesh in 2008.

Environment

Climate change

Working in close cooperation with the Department of Climate Change (DCC), the department continued to contribute to the development of climate change policy, including support for Australia’s participation in the international climate change negotiations under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in preparation for the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen in December 2009. We contributed to initiatives to help vulnerable small island states respond to climate change, including by co-sponsoring UNGA Resolution 63/281. The resolution, coordinated by the Pacific Small Island Developing States and adopted by consensus on 3 June 2009, invited all relevant UN organs to intensify their efforts in considering and addressing climate change and its possible security implications.

The department worked to highlight the positive contribution of trade to addressing climate change, including through efforts in the WTO and APEC to promote trade in environmental goods and services (see page 94 for more information).

Renewable energy

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Australian Ambassador to Japan, Mr Murray McLean OAM, with Managing Director, Nippon Steel Engineering, Mr Tadashi Higashi, after signing an agreement to become a foundation member of the GCCSI in Tokyo on 3 March 2009.
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The department contributed to the development of Government initiatives on renewable energy and clean energy technologies. We worked with the Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism (DRET) to achieve international support for the Global Carbon Capture and Storage Institute (GCCSI), which was launched by the Prime Minister in April 2009. Twenty-three foreign governments agreed to become founding members of the Institute, including the United States, India and China. Membership of and interest in the GCCSI continues to grow. The Institute will help deliver at least 20 fully integrated industrial-scale demonstration projects around the world for broad deployment of carbon capture and storage technology by 2020. More information is available at http://www.globalccsinstitute.com.

We worked closely with DRET, DCC and the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet to secure Australia’s membership of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). The Minister for Energy, Resources and Tourism, Mr Martin Ferguson, signed the IRENA Statute at a signing ceremony on 29 June 2009 in Sharm-el Sheikh, Egypt, enabling our full participation as a voting member. Membership will highlight Australia’s substantial commitment to accelerating the uptake of renewable energy technologies.

Whale Conservation

The Government’s Special Envoy for Whale Conservation, Mr Sandy Hollway AO, was appointed in October 2008 to further Australia’s diplomatic efforts to progress whale conservation and end ‘scientific’ whaling. In cooperation with the Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts, we provided policy and administrative support to the Special Envoy during international discussions with Japan and with a range of pro-conservation countries. Our efforts helped to increase international support for Australia’s International Whaling Commission (IWC) initiatives, including the Southern Ocean Research Partnership and conservation-oriented reform of the IWC.

Regional marine conservation initiatives

The department contributed to Government efforts to progress regional marine environment initiatives, including the development of Australia’s support plan for the Coral Triangle Initiative on Coral Reefs, Fisheries and Food Security. This is a new six-country collaboration on ecologically sustainable development and biodiversity conservation in the region immediately to Australia’s north. Our efforts, which included participation in the Indonesian-led World Ocean Conference, helped build momentum to address global and regional oceans issues in ways consistent with Australia’s expertise in oceans management.

Tsunami warning systems

The department, working closely with the Bureau of Meteorology, Geoscience Australia, Attorney-General’s Department and AusAID, coordinated implementation of the Australian Tsunami Warning System (ATWS). We also played a lead role in strengthening international institutional frameworks, including the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission’s Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning System. Australia signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on tsunami early warning systems with the Federated States of Micronesia on 25 March 2009, which complemented similar MOUs signed with the Cook Islands, Niue, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Tonga and Vanuatu since 2004. The MOUs extend the ATWS, and will lead to the installation of new tsunami warning equipment across the Pacific.

Negotiations on genetic resources

The department led Australia’s delegation to the seventh meeting of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) Working Group on Access and Benefit-sharing of Genetic Resources held in April 2009. Australia worked constructively towards the development of an international regime that recognises effective and pragmatic domestic implementation of the CBD and supports scientific research and the commercial use of genetic resources. The meeting produced a draft text dealing with the objective and scope of an international regime on access and benefit-sharing of genetic resources that will be considered at negotiation sessions in November 2009 and March 2010.

The department consulted with states and territories, other government departments, and science and industry stakeholders to coordinate Australia’s position on genetic resources. In the past year Australia has supported integrating the work of technical experts into the CBD work plan. This year we coordinated the attendance of Australian legal and technical experts at meetings to consider compliance matters and traditional knowledge related to access and benefit-sharing. The reports of these meetings will become valuable inputs for the next round of negotiations in November 2009.

Sea law, environment law and Antarctic policy

The department provided legal advice to the Government in support of Australia’s strengthened commitment to international efforts to combat piracy off the Horn of Africa, consistent with Australia’s support for UNSC Resolutions 1846 and 1851. We also coordinated Australia’s participation in the US-initiated Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia, including in its legal issues working group. The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr Smith, and the Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government, Mr Albanese, announced in June 2009 a contribution to the joint European Union–UN Office on Drugs and Crime program to assist Kenya to receive and prosecute piracy suspects.

The department contributed to enhanced engagement with East Timor on Timor Sea resources, including through the establishment of the Sunrise Commission, which held its inaugural meeting in October 2008. The Sunrise Commission is a joint Australia–East Timor body set up to facilitate the development of petroleum resources in the Greater Sunrise gas field.

We provided legal and policy advice on Australia’s substantial involvement in Antarctica, including the 5.8 million square kilometre Australian Antarctic Territory. The department chaired two rounds of consultations with interested non-government organisations in December 2008 and March 2009 and participated in separate consultations with the Antarctic tourism industry in September 2008. We led Australia’s delegation to the 32nd Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting (ATCM) held in the United States in April 2009. The ATCM’s outcomes included adoption of a resolution on biological prospecting in Antarctica; and the conclusion of a review of a key section of the Protocol to the Antarctic Treaty on Environmental Protection, which is intended to enhance protection of Antarctic flora and fauna. At a special ministerial segment to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Antarctic Treaty, the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts, Mr Garrett, announced that Australia will host the 35th ATCM in 2012.

We provided legal and policy advice in support of the Government’s efforts to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing. The department contributed to the success of the sixth Australia–Indonesia Working Group on Marine Affairs and Fisheries which, among other issues, promoted improved management of Indonesian traditional fishing activities in certain Australian waters under a long-standing bilateral arrangement.

We contributed to the entry into force in December 2008 of the Headquarters Agreement between the Secretariat to the Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels and the Government of Australia (ACAP Headquarters Agreement), enabling the formal establishment of the ACAP Secretariat in Hobart. ACAP, an Australian initiative, is a multilateral agreement that seeks to conserve albatrosses and petrels by coordinating international activity to mitigate known threats to albatross and petrel populations.

We also provided legal advice and diplomatic support to advance Australia’s engagement at multilateral meetings on oceans, law of the sea and fisheries. At meetings of regional fisheries management organisations and at UNGA we advocated the importance of an ecosystem-based approach to fisheries management and the conservation of the environment. The department contributed to Australian achievements at the 27th annual meeting of the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR), which adopted an Australian proposal to improve conservation measures in the CCAMLR area.

Sanctions and transnational crime

The department coordinated the implementation of UNSC sanctions. These included significant additional measures imposed by the UNSC under Resolution 1874 in response to the nuclear test by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea on 25 May 2009, and also new financial sanctions and an arms embargo targeted at persons and entities breaching the peace in Somalia.

In cooperation with other agencies, we monitored Australian trade with countries subject to UNSC sanctions for compliance with Australia’s UN sanction enforcement laws and took appropriate action in cases of suspected non-compliance. Such action included direct inquiries to affected parties, compulsory acquisition of information and documents under section 30 of the Charter of the UN Act 1945 (Cth), consultation with local and foreign regulatory authorities, and referral of cases to the Australian Federal Police.

The department participated in the fourth Conference of Parties to the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime in Vienna in October 2008. We highlighted Australia’s technical assistance in the Asia-Pacific region on transnational crime issues at the Working Group on Legal Cooperation.

We supported Australia’s delegation, led by the Parliamentary Secretary for International Development Assistance, to the high-level segment of the 52nd session of the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs in March 2009. The high-level segment endorsed a new ‘Political Declaration and Plan of Action on International Cooperation towards an Integrated and Balanced Strategy to Counter the World Drug Problem’. The delegation was able to highlight Australia’s domestic success in combating drugs and Australia’s efforts to assist countries in our region to strengthen responses both to emerging drug trends and to tackling the spread of HIV/AIDS caused by injecting drug use.

We co-chaired the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) Project elaborating best practice guidelines for the implementation of FATF’s Special Recommendation III on terrorist asset freezing. Special Recommendation III sets standards for implementing UNSC resolutions 1267 and 1373 on the freezing of assets of persons and entities who participate in the commission of terrorist acts.

The department assisted the Attorney-General’s Department in negotiating and implementing treaties for bilateral extradition, mutual legal assistance and prisoner transfer. In October 2008, Mr Smith signed a bilateral treaty with Vietnam establishing a scheme for the transfer of sentenced prisoners.

We conducted outreach and training on the operation of UN sanctions and extraterritorial offences, such as bribery of foreign public officials, within Australia in every state and territory capital city. The outreach targeted Australian government employees, as well as industry, particularly exporters and the banking and higher education sectors. We also conducted training for Australian posts in India, Malaysia and Singapore.

International law

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Professor Ron McCallum AO (centre) and the team that worked on his successful election to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, on 3 November 2008. L-R: Ms Katharine Hawkins, Attorney-General’s Department, Ms Natasha Smith, AusAID, Ms Sally Weston, Australian Mission to the United Nations New York, and the then Australian Head of Mission to the United Nations New York, Mr Robert Hill.
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The department made a significant contribution regarding international legal aspects of the deployment of Australian personnel to a range of countries, including Afghanistan, Iraq and Solomon Islands. We participated in successful negotiations to conclude a bilateral status of forces arrangement with Iraq in December 2008.

We strengthened international humanitarian law and the protection of civilians through providing legal and policy support to enable Australia’s signature on 3 December 2008 of the Cluster Munitions Convention (see sub-output 1.1.10). We participated in the negotiation of the ‘Montreux Document’, which seeks to increase the accountability of private military and security companies operating in areas of armed conflict through the identification of relevant international humanitarian law and human rights law principles and the use of good contracting practices.

We supported and cooperated with the international criminal courts and tribunals in carrying out their important role in enhancing the rule of law and ending impunity for serious crimes of international concern. We led Australia’s participation in International Criminal Court (ICC) negotiations on defining the crime of aggression. The department participated in preparations for the ICC’s first Review Conference, to be held in Uganda in 2010. We provided funding to the Special Court for Sierra Leone to support its contribution both to national reconciliation and to the promotion of regional peace and justice.

The department advanced Australia’s commitment to international human rights law, including by providing legal and policy advice to support Australia’s ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities on 17 July 2008 and Australia’s accession to the Optional Protocols to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women on 4 December 2008 and the Convention Against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment on 19 May 2009.

We contributed to the negotiation, signing and entry into force of a range of bilateral treaties furthering Australia’s security interests. These treaties included the Shoalwater Bay Training Area Agreement with Singapore; the Protection of Classified Military Information Agreement with the Republic of Korea; and the amendment of the Certain Mutual Defence Commitments Agreement with the United States.

The department supported the liberalisation of air services between Australia and key aviation partners by working towards the signature of a range of air services agreements. We facilitated the signature of air services agreements with Spain, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. We contributed to the commencement of negotiations of the Australia–EU Air Transport Agreement.

We strengthened Australia’s economic and investment interests through supporting preparations for entry into force of a number of bilateral economic treaties, including the ASEAN–Australia–New Zealand FTA (see sub-output 1.1.7). We contributed to the signing of new tax information exchange agreements with the British Virgin Islands and the Isle of Man, supporting the work of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development to eliminate harmful tax practices that contribute to international tax avoidance and evasion.

We contributed to the negotiation, signing and entry into force of several social security treaties, including with Finland, Germany, Greece, Japan and the Republic of Korea. We supported Australia’s efforts to protect and promote Australia’s cultural goods, services and activities, both here and overseas, by facilitating the entry into force of the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions.

Treaties and outreach

The department supported the Parliament’s Joint Standing Committee on Treaties (JSCOT) in its review of 26 new major treaty actions and also by providing JSCOT with briefings and information on treaty processes.

We facilitated the signing of numerous treaties and memorandums of understanding and consulted the states and territories on treaties under negotiation. We provided advice on treaty matters to other government agencies, including through seminars for Australian federal and state government agencies and the diplomatic corps.

The department maintained, through the Australasian Legal Information Institute, a free, best-practice, internet facility allowing access to all of Australia’s treaty texts.

Human rights

The department intensified its work on human rights and Indigenous issues, including as part of the Government’s strengthened engagement with the UN and other multilateral forums.

UN human rights forums

Australia was pleased with the convening by the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) of Special Sessions to consider the human rights situations in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Sri Lanka. Unfortunately, human rights abuses in a number of other countries received insufficient attention.

The department worked to ensure that the UNHRC’s Universal Periodic Review mechanism evolved through the year to become a useful public and interactive review of the human rights record of all countries. We engaged actively in all five rounds of the process, making practical suggestions to various countries on ways in which they might improve human rights.

The department pursued the Government’s human rights agenda in the Social, Humanitarian and Cultural Affairs Committee (the Third Committee) of UNGA. Australia’s UN mission in New York played an important role in the adoption of significant human rights resolutions, including on the death penalty and on the human rights situations in Burma, DPRK and Iran.

The department worked to ensure that the 2009 UN Durban Review Conference Against Racism would not single out Israel unfairly. Prior to the Conference, the department worked with representatives of like-minded countries to promote an acceptable outcomes document. While these efforts led to significant improvements to the text, Australia could not, in the end, support a document which reaffirmed the 2001 Durban Declaration in its entirety, and the Government therefore decided not to participate.

We supported Australia’s appearance before the UN Human Rights Committee in March 2009 and led the appearance before the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR) in May 2009. The CESCR noted Australia’s significant human rights achievements, including in Indigenous rights.

Bilateral human rights dialogues

The department led Australia’s delegation to the 12th round of the Australia–China Human Rights Dialogue held in Canberra on 9 February 2009. The dialogue was a frank and substantive exchange in which we conveyed the Government’s concerns about human rights in China, including treatment of religious groups, the situation in Tibet, the death penalty and access to justice.

We also led delegations to the latest rounds of the Australia–Vietnam Human Rights Dialogue held in Canberra on 26 August 2008, and the Australia–Laos Human Rights Dialogue held in Vientiane on 6–9 April 2009. These dialogues focused on national approaches to human rights and included discussion in which we encouraged Vietnam to protect ethnic minorities, to uphold freedom of religion and expression, and to consider judicial reforms.

Representations and consultations on human rights

Our posts made representations on individual human rights cases and broader issues of concern. The department conducted formal human rights consultations with Australia-based NGOs in September 2008 and February 2009, facilitating valuable exchanges of information, insights and advice on human rights issues.

Indigenous issues

Following the Prime Minister’s National Apology to the Stolen Generations on 13 February 2008, international and UN interest in the Government’s Indigenous policies remained strong. The department worked to meet this interest, including by disseminating information about efforts to promote reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians (see sub-output 3.1.2).

People smuggling and trafficking

The department contributed to whole-of-government efforts to combat people smuggling and to mitigate the flow of irregular migration to Australia. The department coordinated the Senior Officials’ Meeting of the Bali Process in Brisbane on 24–25 February 2009 in preparation for the Third Bali Regional Ministerial Conference on People Smuggling, Trafficking in Persons and Related Transnational Crime held in Bali on 14–15 April 2009. We played an active role in the organisation of the conference, which was co-chaired by the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr Smith, and his Indonesian counterpart, Dr Hassan Wirajuda. The conference was attended by 50 member and observer countries together with representatives from international organisations, including the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the Director General of the International Organization for Migration (IOM). In addition to refocusing ministerial attention on people smuggling, trafficking and related transnational crimes, the conference tasked the Bali Process Ad Hoc Group of senior officials to develop regional responses to current situations concerning the irregular movement of people in the Asia-Pacific region.

At regional posts, we led inter-agency people smuggling taskforces to disrupt people smuggling activities and to coordinate Australian bilateral engagement on people smuggling issues with host countries. In Indonesia, the department supported the successful extradition to Australia of suspected people smuggler Hadi Ahmadi.

The department remained engaged in whole-of-government coordination to combat human trafficking, including participation in the second National Roundtable on People Trafficking on 17 June 2009.

Commonwealth

The department was actively engaged on Commonwealth issues. We worked with the secretariat and member states of the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group on the question of Fiji’s membership in light of developments in that country. The department continued to encourage the Commonwealth to focus its work on its core competencies of good governance and democracy, in addition to complementing the work of the G20 in assisting developing countries respond to the global financial crisis. We liaised with the Commonwealth Secretariat on preparations for Australia’s participation in the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Port of Spain in November 2009.

Outlook

The department will promote and support Australia’s candidacy for the UN Security Council and assist the Prime Minister and other ministers in their advocacy in pursuit of this goal. We will support the role of the UN and advance Australia’s interests across a broad multilateral agenda, including international security, human rights, climate change and global economic and development issues. We will also pursue these interests through the Commonwealth. The CHOGM meeting in November 2009 will provide a particular focus.

The reinstatement of a full-time Ambassador for People Smuggling Issues will strengthen the department’s high-level engagement in regional cooperation on people smuggling, including through advocacy in key countries. The Ambassador will build on the momentum generated at the Third Bali Regional Ministerial Conference to work with regional partners to combat people smuggling. New diplomatic resources in key source and transit countries will be established to support the Ambassador.

The department will maintain its strong contribution to the Government’s initiatives on whale conservation and remain active in international negotiations on trade in genetic resources.

We will promote Australia’s interests in Antarctica, including environmental protection and pursuit of scientific research, by actively participating in its governance mechanisms. We will maintain the high quality of our legal advice to the Government on a range of international law issues, such as the law of the sea, international humanitarian and security law, and international sanctions.

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