Prime Minister Scott Morrison is now speaking about the Russia-Ukraine conflict and sanctions.
The government has just signed an amendment to its sanctions regulations, which will become law tomorrow, and come into effect from March. It allows Australia to target individual Russians, oligarchs and the elites.
“It targets their financial interests, it prevents them from travelling, it stops them from moving money around.
“It stops them from coming and having holidays in countries such as Australia or going shopping in Harrods or doing the things of that nature and trying to live their lives as if they have nothing to do with the violence and bullying and intimidation that they are supporting from the Russian regime.”
Morrison acknowledged the sanctions would likely not lead to Russia pulling back from a full-blown invasion of Ukraine.
“I would hope so, but I don’t expect so,” he said.
“The reason we’re doing this is there must be a price for the unprovoked, unlawful, unwarranted, unjustified attacks and threats and intimidation that has been imposed by Russia on Ukraine.”
The time lag in Australia’s just-announced new sanction powers, which will take effect at the end of March, will allow Australian companies and individuals time to make alternative arrangements, Mr Morrison said, if they have dealings with sanctioned Russian businesses or people.
Australia is working closely with the United States and the United Kingdom to execute sanctions.