Senate Estimates sends a strong message for action on Iran

A series of unanswered questions about Australia’s lack of action in response to violence against women and girls in Iran today in Senate Estimates will increase frustration in the community that Australia is lagging behind our allies in responding to the crisis.

Shadow Assistant Minister for Foreign Affairs, Senator Claire Chandler, today questioned the Foreign Minister and Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade about Australia’s lack of tangible action to date.

“The Iranian-Australian community has for weeks been highly frustrated that the Australian Government is yet to move beyond statements of condemnation and implement specific measures to hold the Iranian Government to account, as many of our closest allies have done,” Senator Chandler said.

“Today we also heard that the Government is aware of multiple reports of intimidation and threats against Iranian-Australians and their families in Iran. This is incredibly serious and adds to the importance of Australia taking a strong stance.”

Adding to concerns about Australia’s slow response, yesterday in Question Time the Prime Minister said that the Government was considering the business implications of any action, which was confirmed today by DFAT.

“The Government’s considerations about how to respond to the violence in Iran have already dragged on for eight weeks since the death of Mahsa Amini, and it was tone deaf for the Prime Minister to suggest business implications are a legitimate reason why Australia has not announced concrete actions to hold Iran accountable,” Senator Chandler said.

“There are a range of options available for the Australian Government to act upon, and the community is entitled to know why our Government has felt unable to announce tangible actions when nations like the US, UK, Canada and Germany have done so.”