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Wednesday, 24 September 2008
Page: 5519

Senator COONAN (4:00 PM) —by leave—Australia’s opposition to capital punishment is well-known internationally. It has been and continues to be a bipartisan policy approach. Australia is one of 60 parties to the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which requires state parties to abolish the death penalty within their jurisdiction. Australia is strongly committed to the principles espoused by the Second Optional Protocol and encourages its universal ratification. However, the coalition respects the legal systems and processes of other countries, just as we ask other countries to respect our legal system. Consistent with the longstanding bipartisan approach to motions of this kind in the Senate and whilst continuing to oppose capital punishment, the coalition recognises the role of government in this important matter of international significance and supports the government’s position in the Senate on Senator Hanson-Young’s motion.