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Thursday, 27 June 2013
Page: 7325

Joyce, Mr Matthew

(Question Nos 1521 and 1522)

Mr Oakeshott asked the Minister representing the Minister for Foreign Affairs, in writing, on 28 May 2013:

In respect of Mr Matthew Joyce, sentenced to 10 years in jail in Dubai and fined $25 million, (a) what actions have been taken to support Mr Joyce and his family in their desire to return to Australia, and (b) what is the Government doing to help Mr Joyce in appealing his conviction.

Mr Marles: On behalf of the Minister for Foreign Affairs, the answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(a) Mr Joyce was convicted of commercial offences in the Court of First Instance in Dubai on 20 May 2013. He has lodged an appeal against that ruling. It is not yet clear when the appeal court will be constituted and commence its deliberations. While Mr Joyce is subject to legal processes in Dubai, he is unable to leave the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Following representations by the Australian Government, the UAE authorities recently returned the passport of Mr Joyce's wife which had initially been withheld as part of Mr Joyce's bail conditions. Accordingly, his wife and children are free to travel out of the UAE if they wish.

(b) The Government has provided extensive assistance to Mr Joyce and his family since he was charged in 2009. Consular officers have attended all but one of his court hearings and the Australian Embassy in the UAE is maintaining close and regular contact with Mr Joyce and his family.

The Government has made 22 representations at the political level to the UAE Government regarding Mr Joyce's case, including three by the Prime Minister, one by the Governor-General level and fourteen at Foreign Minister level. The Australian Ambassador to the UAE has also made numerous representations at senior levels of the UAE Government. In those representations, the Government has registered concerns about the duration of the legal process, underlined our expectation that Mr Joyce will be afforded due process, and underscored the adverse impact of the proceedings on the welfare of Mr Joyce and his family. The Government's representations also drew the attention of senior figures in the UAE Government to the findings of a relevant civil case in the Victorian Supreme Court involving the Sunland company.

In relation to Mr Joyce's appeal, the Government will continue to register with UAE authorities our view that the appeal process should be conducted in a timely and thorough way, and that due regard should be given to all submissions made by Mr Joyce in his defence. Our Embassy will be consulting closely with Mr Joyce and his legal representatives during the appeal process and will continue to provide consular assistance to Mr Joyce and his family.