Statement to the G20 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting Plenary Session on Strengthening Multilateralism

  • Speech, check against delivery

I would like to begin by emphasising Australia's strong support for Indonesia's G20 presidency.

I want to acknowledge Foreign Minister Ibu Retno Marsudi's skillful, patient and effective work throughout Indonesia's presidency and in the lead up to this meeting.

And I commend Ministers for working with Minister Marsudi to come together in support of Indonesia's Presidency and to ‘recover together, recover stronger. I acknowledge, in particular, G7 Ministers and others for their leadership in supporting Ukraine in the face of aggression.

It is a measure of the trust we have in Indonesia and in the role of the G20 as the premier forum for global economic collaboration that we gather today to meet the challenges of the day.

Our nations and peoples want to live in a world that is governed by accepted rules and norms that enable open trade, prosperity and progress. A world that is peaceful, predictable and where sovereignty is respected.

We have this world because of the multilateral system.

It's the system that has underpinned cooperation and progress since the end of the Second World War.

A system built on trust, and that trust is articulated in the United Nations Charter.

When countries act against this system – when they violate the Charter, act illegally or coercively, or undermine commitments – they act against the international community. They breach this trust.

Russia's unprovoked, unjustified and illegal invasion of Ukraine is not only the cause of untold loss of life and damage.

It is not only a primary cause of the global energy and food security crisis wreaking havoc on our economies and pushing millions more of the world's people into severe food insecurity.

It is also a profound breach of trust. And it is up to all nations to hold this breach to account, or the cost will be borne by all of us.

This is why Russia's aggression cannot be normalised and it cannot be minimised.

Russia is not only trying to decide the fate of Ukraine. It is, in fact, trying to decide the fate of the international system.

We have all benefited from the multilateral system.

We all will pay the price if we allow it to falter.

Every country, and all our peoples.

We can work together to tackle the pandemic; to make the recovery less unequal. We can work together to avert the crisis in food security and to meet the challenge of climate change.

Or we can descend into the chaos that results when disputes are settled by size and power alone, instead of by agreed rules and norms.

Australia strongly supports Ukraine's sovereignty, its territorial integrity and its people.

We are the largest non-NATO contributor to Ukraine's defence, in addition to humanitarian assistance.

We have joined with more than 40 other countries to impose sanctions against Russia, as a direct response to Russia's flagrant breach of the UN Charter and other fundamental principles of international law, by its war of aggression.

Russia alone is responsible for its actions and needs to end the conflict and the human and economic suffering it is causing.

Australia believes that we, as members of the G20, must work to strengthen our multilateral cooperation. It is only through such cooperation that we will be able to deal with these serious threats to our livelihoods and ensure global peace and security.

It is in this context that Australia considers it critically important that we work with Indonesia to deliver a successful Bali Summit.

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