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Tuesday, 28 February 2012
Page: 1073

Senator WRIGHT (South Australia) (18:02): I rise to continue speaking on the Extradition and Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters Legislation Amendment Bill 2011. We agree with legal and human rights organisations that the bill should go further in protecting the rights of those who are the subject of request for extradition or those whose rights are impacted by a request for mutual assistance. Accordingly, although I will not be moving amendments today in relation to all of the concerns raised by those organisations, I consider that some amendments are particularly important in order to achieve the right balance between international cooperation for effective law enforcement and fundamental protections of human rights.

The Greens have distilled those concerns into five key areas, and they are: firstly, expanding the existing grounds for refusing an extradition or mutual assistance request to include 'cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment'; secondly, expanding the existing grounds for refusing an extradition or mutual assistance request to include discrimination on the basis of gender identity; thirdly, removing the presumption against bail in the Extradition Act; fourthly, removing the discretion of the Attorney-General to provide mutual assistance in circumstances where the death penalty could apply; and, finally, maintaining double jeopardy as a mandatory ground of refusal for mutual assistance.

I would like to thank Minister Clare and his office for their efforts in recent weeks to address our concerns via amendments to the explanatory memorandum. However, unfortunately, despite good faith negotiations and a number of agreed changes, the amendments made to the explanatory memorandum do not adequately address our concerns to the point where it would be unnecessary for me to move the amendments I will be moving today. Thank you.