Russia ultimately bears the blame for repeated chemical weapons attacks in Syria, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop says.
The nation is threatening to use its veto power at the United Nations Security Council to prevent an investigation into the use of chemical weapons by the regime led by Bashar al-Assad, the same veto it exercised a year ago.
The Security Council held an emergency meeting on Tuesday morning about the attack in the town of Douma, a besieged town in eastern Ghouta, that killed as many as 80 people and injured hundreds more.
It comes a year after 90 civilians were killed with a sarin nerve agent at Khan Sheikhoun.
"It would be unconscionable for Russia to use its position as a permanent member of the Security Council to try to shield the Syrian regime from accusations that is has deployed chemical weapons against its own people," Ms Bishop told Sky News on Tuesday.
The Security Council was unable to reach consensus on an investigative mechanism or further action during its meeting and is expected to sit again on Wednesday.
Earlier, Ms Bishop told ABC radio she supported the view of the US State Department that "Russia ultimately bears responsibility for the targeting of countless Syrians with chemical weapons".
Russia had the ability to get a unanimous outcome from the Security Council, but its previous veto had prevented action being taken to stop the conflict, she said.
Australia had been concerned for some time that the Syrian conflict could broaden, and Ms Bishop said that now appeared to be the case.
US President Donald Trump warned on Monday "nothing's off the table" in terms of the US response to the latest attack in Ghouta and said Russia "may" bear responsibility.
"Everybody's gonna pay a price," he said.
Ms Bishop said any request for Australia to join any action against the Syrian regime would be assessed on its merits.