Australia’s Parliament has passed a law to prevent Russia from establishing a new embassy near Parliament House. The move is due to concerns over potential espionage and political interference. This decision comes amid increasing tensions between Russia and Australia, a significant supporter of Ukraine in its ongoing conflict with Russia.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese stated that the legislation is based on security advice. The Australian government has acted swiftly to ensure that the leased site does not become a formal diplomatic presence. This action reflects Australia’s condemnation of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and its ongoing support for Ukraine’s war effort.
Australia’s growing hostility towards Russia was evident last year when it demanded Moscow be held accountable for cyberattacks on its largest health insurer, Medibank. The new legislation, which was agreed upon by both opposition and government-aligned lawmakers, swiftly passed through both chambers of Parliament and became law within three hours of its public announcement.
The Australian government decided to act after Russia won a Federal Court case last month that prevented its eviction from the site currently under construction. The lease was initially cancelled due to a lack of construction activity. Despite this, the Russian Embassy will remain in its current location in Griffith, and Australia’s Embassy will remain in Moscow.