THE HON TANYA PLIBERSEK MP
DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION
SHADOW MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS
AND INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT
MEMBER FOR SYDNEY
WEDNESDAY, 29 APRIL 2015
SUBJECT/S: Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran
SAMANTHA ARMYTAGE: Okay Tanya Plibersek joins us now, the Opposition Deputy Leader, Tanya thanks for coming in, horrific scenes coming out of Cilacap this morning.
TANYA PLIBERSEK, DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: It’s a terrible time and of course our thoughts go immediately to Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran's family, friends, the legal team that’s worked so hard on their behalf and our consular and embassy officials in Indonesia. I think most Australians who’ve watched the footage that we’ve seen over the last few days have been hurt and angered that our pleas for mercy, our pleas for clemency haven't been heeded and indeed what the families of these young men have been put through over the last decade but certainly over the last days and weeks is beyond endurance.
ANDREW O’KEEFE: Tanya, the Prime Minister stated, you know, very emphatically that Australia respects the Indonesian legal system and Indonesian sovereignty. But also very clearly stated that he felt clemency should have been granted in this situation because of the nature of the rehabilitation of these men and the punishment they already suffered. What do you think the appropriate response is in this situation?
PLIBERSEK: Well, of course, we’ve heard this morning that the Government will be withdrawing our Ambassador and continuing the suspension of high level meetings between Australian ministers and Indonesian ministers. I think they are appropriate responses.
We’ve been as bipartisan as possible in supporting the government to plead for clemency for these young men and I believe that the actions that the government have taken to try and get clemency for them and now to show our displeasure to Indonesia are appropriate.
ARMYTAGE: The Government, Julie Bishop Foreign Minister, said that they had heard nothing from the Indonesians, nothing to confirm that these executions had taken place. Now we are seeing the coffins and the ambulances. How would you describe the Indonesians treatment of the Australian Government throughout this?
PLIBERSEK: I think their treatment has been hurtful in the extreme. We are two countries that have had long and friendly relations. We have pleaded for mercy for our citizens, those pleas have not been heard. But in addition to that, to see the way that the families have been exposed in these media scrums, to receive no formal notification, it's deeply hurtful for Australians.
O’KEEFE: The Foreign Minister had said that, you know, in Australia anyway, rehabilitation and the kind of transformation that we have seen on the part of these two men is a fundamental aspect of a successful penal system. When this immediately agony blows over as it is bound to do, what do you think Australia needs to be doing to agitate against the death penalty not only in our region but around the world?
PLIBERSEK: I think that's a really critical point. We are so hurt today because we’ve lost these two young men who it’s reported were in their last hours comforting the other prisoners who had clearly done the wrong and stupid and damaging thing a decade ago but had spent those 10 years in jail reforming themselves and repaying their debt to society. They tell the story that reform is possible. The death penalty wipes out the opportunity of reform. We should say, not just to Indonesia but to every country that still has the death penalty, that sometimes mistakes are made. For that reason alone, we shouldn't have the death penalty but secondly, the death penalty wipes out the opportunity of reform and repaying a debt to society and it's a sentence not just for these two young men but for everyone who loves them.
O’KEEFE: Indeed, indeed.
ARMYTAGE: Okay, alright, Tanya Plibersek, thank you for your time this morning. We appreciate you coming in.