January 25th 2020

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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY Wildfires: Lessons from the past not yet learnt

EDITORIAL America 'resets' foreign policy on China and Russia

CANBERRA OBSERVED After the fires, we still need an economy and to power it

GENDER POLITICS In trans Newspeak, parental consent is a 'hurdle'

REFLECTION Conjugal honour: Love of husband and wife joined together in pure intimacy

LIFE ISSUES Pro-lifers punished for exposing baby harvesting

LAW AND SOCIETY Cardinal Pell and the Appeal Court judges

LITERATURE AND SOCIETY The poetry of Distributism

AUSTRALIAN HISTORY Botany Bay: Always more than a dumping ground

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS Finally getting Brexit done

HUMOUR The MacStuttles probe

MUSIC From retch to wretched

CINEMA Three times the bravura: 1917, The Gentlemen, Shaun the Sheep: Farmageddon

BOOK REVIEW The contradictions of the dominant ideology

BOOK REVIEW Novel celebrates inventor of literary fairytales



HUMAN RIGHTS A Magnitsky-style law for Australia?

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A Magnitsky-style law for Australia?

by Hon. Kevin Andrews

News Weekly, January 25, 2020

Sergei Magnitsky was a tax accountant who was murdered in a Russian prison in 2009, having previously been refused medical treatment for severe illnesses. He had been detained after investigating a $US230 million ($A336 million) fraud involving Russian tax officials.

Sergei Magnitsky

An American friend and businessman, Bill Browder, took up the case, lobbying the United States Congress to sanction the officials involved. Through the advocacy of Senators Benjamin Cardin and John McCain, the Magnitsky Bill passed the Congress in 2012 and was signed into law by President Barak Obama.

The purpose of the law was to prevent entry into the U.S. of individuals involved in Magnitsky’s murder, and their use of the American banking system.

Four years later, Congress passed the Global Magnitsky Act, which enables the U.S. government to invoke a range of sanctions against foreign officials for human rights abuses. A year later, President Donald Trump issued the first Executive Order pursuant to the legislation, sanctioning 13 individuals described as “human rights abusers, kleptocrats and corrupt actors”. Since then, other individuals from a range of countries have been added to the list, including officials from Turkey and Saudi Arabia.

Members of Congress and representatives of non-governmental organisations have pressed for more officials to be sanctioned. Senator Marco Rubio and 16 other members have urged the U.S. Government to impose sanctions against Chinese officials responsible for human rights abuses against the Uyghurs in Xinjiang province, as did last year’s annual report of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, co-chaired by Senator Rubio and Congressman Chris Smith.

A number of countries have since adopted Magnitsky laws, including Britain and Canada. The European Parliament has urged European nations to introduce similar legislation.

The Human Rights Sub-Committee, which I chair, of the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade is conducting an inquiry into the adoption of Magnitsky-type legislation in Australia. We currently have some legislative sanctions under the Autonomous Sanctions Act 2011, but they are not an extensive as the U.S. provisions.

The Hon Kevin Andrews MP

The inquiry is an opportunity to consider our current human rights tools, the effectiveness of sanctions, and the advisability of introducing new thematic regulation within our current regime.

In particular, should we have sanctions to prevent designated foreign officials or their families travelling to Australia, using services here, or obtaining goods and property here?

Individuals and organisations are invited to make submissions to the inquiry. Further details are available on the committee’s website via the links at www.aph.gov.au

The Hon Kevin Andrews MP is chairman of the Human Rights Sub-Committee of the Joint Standing Committee of Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade.

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Last Modified:
April 4, 2018, 6:45 pm