JULIE BISHOP Good morning Eddie, good morning Luke.
EDDIE MAGUIRE Julie, can we just get your thoughts at the moment as we see these terrible scenes of Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan being taken from Kerobokan in armoured cars with the riot police around them and now would seem to be heading to their execution.
JULIE BISHOP This is devastating news, not only for the men and the families. I’m utterly dismayed by it. I understand there are still legal avenues remaining open and it’s utterly unacceptable, indeed unthinkable, that any steps would be taken to prepare for executions while legal avenues remain open.
I spoke with the Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi again last evening. I again told her that in circumstances where these men have been rehabilitated in the most remarkable way they should be given a second chance and I’ve asked that the President, as a forgiving man, see the remarkable difference that these young men have made to many Indonesians in prison and that we are seeking from him mercy and forgiveness and a stay of these executions.
LUKE DARCY Julie they’re obviously private conversations with your counterparts in Indonesia but are you getting any sense of compassion? Any understanding of how big an issue this is for us here in Australia?
JULIE BISHOP I don’t believe the Indonesian Government could be under any misunderstanding as to how strong our views are. We have made our position plain, that we oppose the death penalty at home and abroad. Indeed we’ve pointed out Indonesia opposes the death penalty for their citizens overseas because they make representations for stays of execution and clemency for Indonesian citizens who are facing death row overseas. And for as long as there’s hope I will continue to do everything possible to persuade Indonesia to change course, to have a change of heart, a change of mind and agree to a permanent stay of execution. But I’ve not yet had any indication that that course will be changed.
EDDIE MAGUIRE So Julie what happens from now? You’re seeing the same pictures we are at the same time. What do you do? What does the Government do? What does anybody do from here?
JULIE BISHOP The lawyers for the two men have stated that they are lodging an appeal in the State Administrative Court, that is their right. There is also another case, there have been claims of alleged corruption in Andrew and Myuran’s original trial and those claims are currently before the Indonesian Judicial Commission and we believe should be allowed to be finalised. So we will continue to plead with the greatest respect that President Widodo shows mercy and forgiveness to Andrew and Myuran, which he can do under Indonesian law, and that he grant the stay.
In the meantime we have been making representations to anyone we can think of who we think can have an influence. We will continue to do that and I will be speaking with the families today and let them know that we will do all we can. We will provide consular support in Bali, we’re providing consular support at this ‘execution island’. We have a team ready and available to provide whatever we can to the families and to the men should it be needed. But I have to say, I’ve not yet seen any indication that the President will change his mind. I have to say that there has been considerable sympathy among some that we’ve spoken to in Indonesia but at the end of the day it’s the President’s call.
LUKE DARCY The Dutch and the Brazilians I think have withdrawn their Ambassador Julie. Is that something you would consider in the light of what’s happening?
JULIE BISHOP There are a number of diplomatic options available to us. We are obviously talking with other countries whose citizens are also on death row and we will look at what is appropriate and proportionate in the circumstances. We have had previous experiences, tragically, where Australian citizens have been put to death for drug offences in Singapore and in Malaysia and on both those occasions we didn’t withdraw our diplomats because we believed it was important to keep channels of communication open at the highest possible levels. So these are considerations that we will take into account. In the meantime I’m doing all I can, calling whomever I can, to continue to make the case that these men should not have to pay with their lives.
I recognise that Indonesia is a sovereign country, it has its own legal system but I’m not asking them to do anything that they don’t do in seeking stays of execution for their citizens on death row.
EDDIE MAGUIRE Julie, thank you for taking the time out to speak to the Triple M audience this morning. We’ll let you get back to it, get back on those phones to Indonesia and thank you for your time and strength to your arm.
JULIE BISHOP Thanks boys, thank you.
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