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Monday, 30 October 2006
Page: 170


Mr Melham asked the Attorney-General, in writing, on 22 May 2006:

(1)   What discussions or exchanges have taken place between the Australian and Indonesian Governments concerning the possible negotiation of a bilateral treaty on the international transfer of prisoners.

(2)   What visits to Indonesia have been made by Australian officials to progress this matter.

(3)   What visits to Australia have been made by Indonesian officials to progress this matter.

(4)   Has a draft treaty text been developed by Australia and has this been provided to the Indonesian Government.

(5)   When are formal negotiations expected to commence.


Mr Ruddock (Attorney-General) —The Minister for Justice and Customs has provided the following answer to the honourable member’s question:

(1)   In April 2005, I had agreed with the Indonesian Minister of Justice and Human Rights, Dr Hamid Awaludin, that Australia and Indonesia would commence discussions about a bilateral treaty. In August and October 2005, I again met with Dr Awaludin to discuss the ITP scheme. On 16 February 2006 I wrote to Dr Awaludin requesting clarification about the domestic processes required to give effect to a treaty in Indonesia. On 29 June 2006, the Attorney-General, Hon Philip Ruddock MP, and Dr Awaludin agreed on key points on the proposed treaty including the following: - the agreement will cover all offences - the agreement will apply to prisoners already in custody in either Australia or Indonesia - the agreement will provide that a prisoner will serve the sentence imposed by the laws of the country in which the person was convicted - the agreement will not apply to people facing the death penalty unless that penalty is commuted to a prison sentence, and - the agreement will set up a framework for decisions to be made about individual cases on a case by case basis. On 13 September 2006, the Hon Philip Ruddock and I sent a joint letter to Dr Awaludin confirming the desirability of concluding negotiations by the end of 2006. On 9 October 2006 the Hon Philip Ruddock MP, and I both held meetings in Canberra with where a number of outstanding issues were agreed.

(2)   In June 2005 and December 2005 officials from the Attorney-General’s Department travelled to Indonesia and discussed the ITP regime and the possibility of negotiating a bilateral treaty between Australia and Indonesia. On 10 and 11 August 2006, officials from the Attorney-General’s Department again visited Indonesia for discussions.

(3)   The ITP scheme was discussed with Indonesian Government officials during a visit to Australia in July 2004.

(4)   Details of any treaty discussions and negotiations are confidential between the parties until a treaty is signed.

(5)   Dialogue between Australia and Indonesia about an ITP treaty is active and continuing. Ministers at the Australia-Indonesia Ministerial Forum in Bali in June 2006 announced that it was desirable that a treaty be signed this year.