ALAN JONES Now, I don’t know what the female is of manfully, but may I take a bit of licence with the language to say that Julie Bishop the Australian Foreign Minister has been manfully trying to talk sense to these people and apparently has offered three Indonesian criminals here in exchange for the lives of Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran. The Foreign Minister is on the line.
Julie Bishop, good morning.
JULIE BISHOP Good morning Alan.
ALAN JONES Thank you for this. What is the latest as you know it? I know you’ve been on the phone all night and you’ve offered a swap have you?
JULIE BISHOP What I did Alan is contact Foreign Minister Marsudi on Tuesday evening and I asked for a pause in their preparations for the executions of Mr Sukumaran and Mr Chan so that we could explore some kind of prisoner swap, or prisoner transfer, or a swap of their Indonesian prisoners who are in jail in Australia for a stay of execution for Mr Sukumaran and Mr Chan.
I didn’t provide any details because it’s a very complex situation. Of course Indonesian law and Australian law would have to be taken into account, but I said we needed to explore every avenue, every option that was available to us. She undertook to take this matter up with the President and I’ve not yet heard back as to his attitude to this.
I didn’t go into any detail, I just wanted to explore a possibility with her and ask for a pause, if you like, in their preparations while we looked at any options, avenues, possibilities. And I also pointed out that there were still legal proceedings afoot. First the young men’s lawyers have sought to lodge a further appeal against the State Administrative Court decision last week and that was still proceeding as, I understood it, and also that there were these bribery allegations that arose from the men’s original trial that were before a Judicial Commission and I understood that that Judicial Commission wanted statements from Mr Sukumaran and Mr Chan so there were a number of reasons why there should be at least a pause or a moratorium if you like in their preparations and of course I went into the reasons why there should be a permanent stay of execution based on their remorse and their rehabilitation.
ALAN JONES And?
JULIE BISHOP She said she would take these matters up with the President. Now our Prime Minister has sought a further telephone call with President Widodo and we’re waiting to hear as to when that can take place.
ALAN JONES What’s your gut feeling?
JULIE BISHOP My gut feeling is that Indonesia would like to find a way to accommodate Australia’s concerns but that they have taken a very hard line approach on this that it’s hard to see how they will change their mind or how we could achieve a change of heart.
But we will continue to make representations, we will continue to come up with reasons as to why there should be a stay and indeed why there should be a permanent stay. And I did point out that the issues of mercy and forgiveness have as much of a place in Indonesian law as they do in Australian law and this is a very strong and proud country…
ALAN JONES Correct, in universal law, in universal law.
Indeed, you know that’s the issue. I mean the next fight here is to try and win sense around the world to abolish this barbaric behaviour of statutory murder.
JULIE BISHOP This morning the Australian Parliamentarians Against the Death Penalty held a candlelight vigil at the front of Parliament House…
ALAN JONES Yes, well done, well done.
JULIE BISHOP …The Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition were there, the Deputy Leader of the Opposition, the Greens, and I was there, as well as a number of Parliamentarians from all sides of politics and the Australian Government, and successive Australian Governments oppose the death penalty. It is absolutely irreversible and it doesn’t take into account any remorse, any rehabilitation and that’s so evident in this case.
ALAN JONES Well if we had the death penalty in Australia, as I keep saying, Lindy Chamberlain would be dead and she was innocent.
JULIE BISHOP That’s right.
ALAN JONES Congratulations on all you’ve done. Good luck. I just have, I don’t know you can only go on gut instincts, I just have a feeling, as I said yesterday, the ground’s moving a little but how much it can move, who knows.
JULIE BISHOP Well we’ll keep hoping and praying Alan. Thank you.
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