TRANSCRIPT - ABC The World, Monday 2 March 2015

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Subject: Mr Chan and Mr Sukumaran, Vladimir Putin, Boris Nemtsov

BEVERLEY O’CONNOR, PRESENTER: I spoke to Opposition Foreign Affairs spokesperson Tanya Plibersek who says there are still a few glimmers of hope.

TANYA PLIBERSEK, DEPUTY OPPOSITION LEADER: There's been a few heartening moves in the last few days as well and that would include the Governor of Jakarta reportedly speaking to his friend, the President, about this case and about the death penalty more generally, also of course, the former foreign minister Dr Hassan Wirajuda speaking also reportedly on this case and the fact that the death penalty doesn't do the reputation of Indonesia any good internationally.

O’CONNOR: Do you think it’s going to be enough to cut through to a President who seems really determined to carry through with these executions?

PLIBERSEK: Look, it's certainly important to have these voices speaking up in Indonesia and of course people who are politically close to the President, people who are intimately involved in advising the new Government are very strong and credible voices to make the case, first of all the moral and ethical case against the death penalty more generally. I certainly think that while there's life there's hope. There are ongoing legal efforts from the legal teams of these two men.

O’CONNOR: Do you think it changes the dynamic with which we perhaps approach Jokowi in terms of he appeared to be a reforming president coming in that perhaps was going to do things very differently yet it would appear he's playing very much to a domestic audience, that that is his priority?

PLIBERSEK: Well, I think to be fair, that most governments have their first eye on their domestic constituencies. There is a broader issue, an international issue about the death penalty and Australia always opposes the death penalty in any country for any person to whom it’s applied. We would hope that the President would consider the pleas for clemency that so many Australians and now so many Indonesians are making.

O’CONNOR: And to that point, do you think it damages our relationship going forward?

PLIBERSEK: Our relationship with Indonesia is one of the most important relationships we have. A close neighbour, of growing importance economically for Australia and certainly Indonesia's always been a very important strategic neighbour for us.

O’CONNOR: Can I take you elsewhere, Tanya Plibersek, and talk for a moment about, I guess, the difficulty that perhaps Vladimir Putin is posing to the world community. We've seen with Ukraine and of course domestically now with the shooting of Boris Nemtsov, of course he has distanced himself and condemned the killing but there is this growing feeling that there is double speak when it comes to Vladimir Putin?

PLIBERSEK: We call on the Russian Government and the President in particular to ensure that the pro-separatist rebels in Ukraine are not supported or armed or encouraged by Russia. The most recent news about Mr Nemtsov over this last day, of course, is very concerning. It's not clear who is responsible yet but it is very important that the murder is investigated swiftly and credibly, that his killers are found. I'd also add that it's very important for any country to have a strong opposition, to have critics that are heard and that can speak up safely and it is, I think the international community has seen with some disquiet that those voices of opposition in Russia have not been - well, it hasn't been a good experience for many of those people criticising the Government.

O’CONNOR: Good to talk to you, thanks so much for your time.

PLIBERSEK: Thank you.


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