OurSay users posted and voted on the foreign policy questions that mattered to them.
Watch here as Jeremy Fernandez gets the answers from Minister for Foreign Affairs Bob Carr, live on ABC News 24.
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“Over 22 years in Sudan, roughly 2 million people have died and 4 million displaced as a result of war and violence. The perpetrator - Omar Al bashir - is still in power and now targets the Nuba Mountains and Blue Nile. With an important place on the UN Security Council, we have a unique opportunity to leave a powerful human rights legacy by driving an effort to end the violence in Sudan. How will Australia use its position on the UN Security Council to achieve a lasting, peaceful resolution in Sudan?”
“Why have you so very clearly abandoned advocacy for Australian publisher Julian Assange in the light of evidence of a secret Grand Jury in the USA. He is internationally respected, awarded multiple human rights awards, standing for the Australian Senate, and yet the silence from the Australian Govt. is deafening. It appears as though policy on this has been dictated by the USA.”
“Australia has strengthened its ties with the greater Asia Pacific region through hard power approaches, e.g. growths in military capabilities, trading and so on. Another crucial aspect of improving ties with our neighbouring countries is to increase intercultural communication. The arts provides a channel of cultural exchange, however there seems to be a lack of focus on this area on a federal level. Receiving government funding in the arena of the arts is a challenge, particularly for smaller events and organisations. Soft power approaches such as engagement with the arts does not seem to be at the forefront of strengthening foreign affiliations. As the director of APERTURE Festival, an international ethnographic documentary festival that aims to support and promote Asia Pacific cultures, I am particularly interested in this question: What is the Australian government’s agenda to strengthen ties with the greater Asia Pacific through the arts?”
“You recently committed to ensuring Australia's foreign policy approach would promote LGBTI rights as a core part of it. Many asylum seekers come by boat to Australia seeking protection from homophobic persecution. Papua New Guinea criminalises homosexuality with prison sentences of up to 14 yeas. With this in mind, how can Australia justify sending them to a country where their life or liberty would be threatened by such persecutory laws? ”