Senate debates

Thursday, 8 February 2024

Questions without Notice

United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East

3:01 pm

Photo of Penny WongPenny Wong (SA, Australian Labor Party, Minister for Foreign Affairs) Share this | Hansard source

Can I first go back to the point in the question that was first raised. I can advise that I received advice on UNRWA from my department last year prior to the disbursement of Australia's core funding for 2023-24. The advice to me, based on an independently audited review, was that there was no evidence that funds had been diverted and that our key partners, including the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada, who all fund UNRWA, held the same view.

In relation to the letter from community representatives, I would make the point that I am aware of that letter. I do know these are not new views. They're views that have been expressed for many years by individuals and organisations who do not support the Australian government continuing to fund UNRWA. By the time we received the letter, my officials had already acted on the issues it raised, which had been identified in a November report by UN Watch, as you said, and the Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education. (Time expired)


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