Addressing the United Nations General Assembly, Australia’s Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, stressed the need to resist “the rising tide of protectionism” but most importantly “the threat of conflict and instability.”
“Where there is peace and the rule of law applying to the governors and the governed, to large States and to small, we have seen remarkable strides in every measure of human progress,” Mr. Turnbull said during the Assembly’s annual general debate. But in too many places, there is no peace, he added.
Despite some setbacks, such as one in Syria over the past five years, the United Nations system was able to adopt the Arms Trade Treaty, the Paris Agreement on climate change, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction. These point the way forward for future action, he said.
“Now more than ever, we need to work together towards common solution,” he emphasized, telling the Assembly that this is why Australia’s response to the global surge in migration is based on three pillars: strong border control; compassionate humanitarian action; and effective international and regional cooperation – all of which are interlinked.
Without this, it would be not possible for Australia to carry out the world’s third-largest permanent refugee resettlement program, he said. It was not possible for his country to take in 12,000 additional people displaced by violence in Iraq and Syria.
Australia is an “immigration nation, and our immigrants are as diverse as the society that they have joined," he said, adding that the country is one of the world’s most successful multicultural societies, with nearly 200,000 immigrants joining its population each year.
Strong borders and vigilant agents are the ingredients of successful multicultural societies, and a more effective implementation of border controls can contribute to a better humanitarian response. Secure borders remove the clients of smugglers and represent an effective strategy towards addressing human trafficking and other illegal activities, he explained.
Turning to the crises in the Middle East and Africa, he said they took an unnecessary and unacceptable toll on civilians. The international community must do everything in its power to combat violence and terrorism. Along with its partners, Australia plans to submit a resolution on reform of the international peacebuilding architecture, he said.