- Parliamentary Business
- Senators & Members
- News & Events
- About Parliament
- Visit Parliament
Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Transcript of doorstop interview: Parliament House, Canberra: 7 September 2006: Red Cross; Bali 9; Military commissions.\n \n
ATTORNEY-GENERAL THE HON PHILIP RUDDOCK MP
Parliament House, Canberra ACT 2600 â¢ Telephone (02) 6277 7300 â¢ Fax (02) 6273 4102 www.law.gov.au/ag
Date: 7 September 2006
Location: Parliament House
Topic: Red Cross, Bali 9, Military Commissions.
20060907 Red Cross
Attorney Well you all want to understand why we’re here.
Attorney I’m lending support today to Red Cross who are one of our very important partners in relation to handling emergencies in Australia in its desire to ensure that it has adequate resources in the form of blood when we face critical emergencies and over a long period of time I think there’s been a loyal band of supporters who have donated blood on a regular basis. At times I’ve been amongst them. I may not say I’ve been as loyal as I should be but I’ve been amongst them. And it is in context something that we need to renew in terms of people’s support and so this program is about encouraging that amongst the emergency volunteers who very much appreciate why blood is so essential to handling crises. We deal with all hazards so often it involves road accidents. It can involve cyclones, flood, and even on occasions like that you might have a need for blood to assist with transfusions that are urgently needed. But more critically if we were to face a major terrorist crisis in Australia what would be our ability to be able to respond in that situation? And there needs to be an awareness of the Australian community broadly of the need to continue to be supporting Red Cross in its work in this area. And that’s why I’m associated with this function today and Dr (Pip) Hetzel (Acting CEO, Australian Red Cross Blood Service) may care to elaborate.
Dr Hetzel No that’s fine. We certainly are very proud to be announcing the commencement of our National Blood Donor Week where we celebrate Australian blood donors who do support the patients in our hospitals in need of blood. Certainly in emergencies about 20 per cent of the blood is used in trauma and the injuries that flow on from trauma, but importantly in fact there are many, many patients who do require blood every day. Our emergency heroes - our emergency service workers are in fact in many ways just like our blood donors. They’re saving lives and through blood donation and supporting our community in Australia in fact you can with just an hour of your time support up to three Australian lives
through giving blood. And we thank your blood donors and we certainly thank Mr Ruddock for being here today to call Australia’s … and heighten our awareness and heighten our awareness about the importance of blood donation so that there really is always going to be blood stocks available for when we might need them. And you never can tell when you might need a blood donation.
Journalist Why aren’t Australians giving blood? Why are you always short of blood these days?
Dr Hetzel I think Australians are giving blood but not enough of us are giving blood. The reason we’re always short of blood you may not be aware the blood stocks that we require for trauma are fresh blood stocks and have very short half lives. A red cell life is only for 42 days. A platelet which stops you bleeding lasts for five days. So in fact we actually need 21,000 blood donors to attend every week. We are sending blood out 24 hours 365 days a year. So it’s about people understanding that yes they need to step up and be a blood donor. More importantly they need to be a regular blood donor. And that’s why because we in fact find that we’re not having enough people step up and they’re not giving regularly.
Journalist Mr Ruddock you spoke about the need for blood in the event of a major terrorist crisis. How important is it do you think for Australia to be self sufficient in its supply of blood products?
Attorney Well the point I was making was that we have a partnership with Red Cross and in the emergency management area we see them as being crucial to our being able to protect the community in all range of hazards. And normal hazards you can probably manage reasonably well but catastrophic events are going to require us to be thinking about how we’re going to manage those sorts of issues. And we deal with these matters all the time in terms of focusing on exercising in the event that certain difficulties might arise how we’re going to respond in those situations. And this is part of raising community awareness of the need to deal with these issues every day for our community’s needs but also to be focused on what may be required if we were to experience some horrific event.
Journalist Mr Ruddock there’s been a bit of talk today about the sentences meted out to the Bali Bombers and the Bali Nine. Is there a double standard here? Some of the bombers seem to be getting 14 years. The Bali Nine for killing nobody are getting death sentences. Is there a double standard and is it a political reason behind it all?
Attorney Well the point I would make is that in every country you have to have a justice system and that’s why you have a system which includes appeals to ensure that comparisons of the sort that you are making are addressed in the context of evidence, are addressed in the context of the broader consideration of these issues. And it’s important in the context of what is happening here to recognise that this is the Indonesian justice system that is operating. It does have appeals. Some would be disappointed at the way in which the appeals in relation to some of the Bali Nine resulted but
Attorney General Transcript 2
that process has not yet been concluded and no doubt there will be further steps taken on proper advice by those who are involved. And I don’t think it’s appropriate for me without an awareness of all the evidence and all the facts to be trying to draw conclusions as to whether one sentence is more appropriate than another.
Journalist But I suppose as an outsider you can understand the concern and perhaps the confusion by especially the families of the Bali Nine?
Attorney Well I can understand that these issues are often raised and the reason you have a system which includes appeals is to try and ensure that you’re able to deal with those sorts of questions. And the Indonesian justice system does include appeals and we need to I think allow that system to work.
Journalist Mr Ruddock on Guantanamo Bay what do you make of the US decision to move more prisoners to there now and are you worried that that could delay the trial of David Hicks further?
Attorney Well it’s important I think to look at the totality of the statement made by the United States President today because what he outlined was in fact the legislation that they propose to introduce into this session of Congress to do what the Supreme Court said was required - that was to have a legislative imprimatur for a military commission process. And the President outlined the safeguards that would be included in that process and why it was important to have a military commission process rather than a Courts martial process which would normally apply in relation to America’s own troops. Now I’ve been through the guarantees that have been outlined. They reflect the guarantees that were made to us at an earlier point in time and we have been given certain assurances from the United States that Mr Hicks would face a military commission process expeditiously which would provide a just hearing of the issues which they believe involve him. And it was an important announcement because the United States has now put down the form that the legislation should take and it’s now a matter for the Congress to consider that and hopefully to do so expeditiously.
Journalist So you’re not worried that having some of these more high profile people in there now might slow David Hicks’ case down?
Attorney Well the American President gave assurances to us that it would be one of the first military commissions to be established and if you look at the way in which they’ve dealt with the Hicks matter to date that has been the case. The fact that there are other people who have been identified as high profile detainees who may well become now parties to a military commission process I don’t think derogates from the assurances that have been given to us.
Journalist Hambali is another one of those new prisoners taken to …
Attorney I saw that.
Attorney General Transcript 3
Journalist Guantanamo Bay. Does the Australian government have any interest in gaining access to him re the Bali bombings?
Attorney Well I don’t talk about intelligence issues but obviously we share with the United States a great deal of information and they share information with us and if we require access to people who are held usually that has been accommodated. So while I wouldn’t comment on the particular individual - I don’t think that is appropriate - I can say that there has been a high level of cooperation with the United States to ensure that we’re able to properly protect Australia’s interests. Okay? Thank you very much.
Media Contact: Michael Pelly 0419 278 715
Attorney General Transcript 4