Australia launch another bid for a seat on the United Nations Security Council

Australia is to launch another bid for a seat on the United Nations Security Council, just a year after its last term on the council expired. The spot Australia is seeking will be open in 2029.

Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop is expected to announce the bid in her address to the General Assembly in New York on Tuesday evening.

In opposition the Coalition initially opposed Australia’s bid for the seat, which was pursued by the Gillard and Rudd governments, saying it was a waste of money and would risk Australia having to compromise on foreign policy to woo votes, Fairfax Media reported at the time.

The bid cost about $25 million.

But in office the Coalition government effectively used its increased influence at UN to help drive the investigation of the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 over Eastern Ukraine in July last year.

“Australia served with distinction throughout our last two-year term, which ended in December 2014. We championed initiatives that directly supported our national security interests, taking the lead on a number of landmark resolutions,” Ms Bishop said in a statement.

“Australia chaired the al-Qaeda, Taliban and Iran sanctions committees and co-ordinated the council’s work on Afghanistan. We pressed for a concerted international response to the rise of Daesh and the threat of foreign terrorist fighters.

“Australia promoted the linkages between human rights protection and political stability and security, including putting the human rights situation in North Korea on the council’s formal agenda.”

Australia won its last rotating seat on the body after an intensive lobbying effort.

The foreign affairs minister at the time, Bob Carr, described it as a “big, juicy, decisive win”.

The council, charged with maintaining global peace and order, is made up of five permanent members, with veto powers, and 10 non-permanent members.

In July Russia, a permanent member, blocked a proposal supported by Australia to have the council establish a tribunal to prosecute anyone who might be charged as a result of the investigation into MH17.

Countries normally announce their candidacies years in advance, and the 2029-2030 term is the first available seat that is not already being contested.

This gives Australia the greatest chance of success and minimises the cost.