Coat of arms

Chair of the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade
Senator for South Australia

Media Release
6 August 2021

Australia To Adopt Magnitsky Style Reforms

The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Senator the Hon Marise Payne, announced this week that in response to a report by the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade (JSCFADT), the Australian Government will reform and modernise Australia’s autonomous sanctions laws to enable the imposition of targeted financial sanctions and travel bans against the perpetrators of egregious acts of international concern.

Senator the Hon David Fawcett, Chair of the JSCFADT, welcomed the Government’s proposed reforms in response to the recommendations of the December 2020 report, “Criminality, corruption and impunity: Should Australia join the Global Magnitsky movement?”. Senator Fawcett noted in particular the leadership of the Hon Kevin Andrews MP, Chair the Human Rights Sub-Committee of JSCFADT which conducted the inquiry.

“The reforms announced yesterday will target perpetrators of acts such as the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, gross human rights violations, malicious cyber activity and serious corruption, as part of broader reforms to Australia’s existing autonomous sanctions framework,” Senator Fawcett said.

“Introducing these Magnitsky-style reforms enables the Australian Government to impose travel restrictions and freeze assets on the perpetrator of actions – functioning both punitively and as a deterrent – expanding upon Australia’s current country-based autonomous sanctions framework.”

The proposed reforms will provide the Government with the flexibility to deploy sanctions in response to situations of international concern, when appropriate and in our national interest, including in collaboration with international partners. This legislation will bring our sanctions laws in line with key allies and allow us to coordinate responses for maximum impact.

“Cooperation with like-minded nations, such as the US, UK and the EU, on this matter has the potential to enhance the protection of the human rights of countless citizens around the world,” Senator Fawcett said.

“The enactment of legislation in line with the policy that the Government has announced this week, will align Australia with a global movement seeking to limit opportunities for human rights abusers, corrupt officials and their beneficiaries to enjoy the proceeds of their abuses.”

“I welcome this reform and believe this demonstrates Australia’s commitment to be a nation which holds the perpetrators of such actions to account.”

Senator Fawcett, on behalf of the committee, thanked the many parties who provided evidence to the JSCFADT or participated in the inquiry hearings. The committee considered submissions from over 160 individuals and organisations from around the world, and benefitted from the contributions of a number of pre-eminent human rights experts, experienced with Magnitsky-style laws at the global level.

To view the Committee’s full report, visit