Sanctions support over human rights abuses

The federal coalition says it would back Australia imposing sanctions on Myanmar, Iran, and Chinese individuals for human rights abuses committed by their regimes.

Opposition foreign affairs spokesman Simon Birmingham said slapping sanctions on Myanmar should be considered as the military junta had "thumbed its nose" at the international community and regional Asian partners.

When asked if Australia should do that after Myanmar freed Australian economist Sean Turnell after locking him up for 650 days, Senator Birmingham said the country's shocking human rights abuses could not be ignored.

"We cannot turn a blind eye to the thousands of other individuals who are detained in Myanmar, to the abuses occurring across the country, to the oppression of minorities that are happening, to the suppression of democracy," he told ABC Insiders.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said Australia's national interest would be at the forefront of any decision to impose sanctions on Myanmar.

"We continue to speak out against human rights abuses in Myanmar, none of that has changed," he told the ABC.

Mr Albanese said lobbying from the Australian government at the East Asia Summit was "important" to helping secure Professor Turnell's release.

"We advocated, and the support of ASEAN was important," he said.

"The fact that I've been able to talk with the leaders of Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, and other nations, the Philippines ... for the support that they gave Professor Turnell was very important."

Senator Birmingham said members of the nation's Iranian community had asked for targeted Magnitsky-style sanctions on individuals in the leadership.

"Australia is a long way behind like-minded countries and comparable nations when it comes to action in relation to Iran since the murder of Mahsa Amini, we've seen many other lives lost," he said.

On China, Senator Birmingham said he wrote to Foreign Minister Penny Wong offering bipartisan support for action after the release of the UN's report finding credible evidence of widespread human rights abuses and torture against the Muslim Uighur minority.