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Tuesday, 26 March 1985
Page: 921


Mr SPENDER(5.19) —by leave-I move:

(1) Clause 6, page 4, omit the clause, substitute the following clause:

''6. Section 10 of the Principal Act is amended by adding at the end of sub-section (1) 'or if the requisition for his surrender has in fact been made with a view to try or punish him for an offence of a political character'.''.

(2) Clause 8, page 5, line 26, at the end of proposed paragraph 12 (2) (b) add: ''or that the requisition for his surrender has in fact been made with a view to try or punish him for an offence of a political character''.

(3) Clause 12, page 10, line 15, at the end of proposed paragraph 17 (2) (d) add:

''or that the requisition for his surrender has in fact been made with a view to try or punish him for an offence of a political character''.

(4) Clause 12, page 10, line 42, at the end of proposed paragraph 17 (2B) (d) add:

''or that the requisition for his surrender has in fact been made with a view to try or punish him for an offence of a political character''.

The Opposition's amendments, as the honourable member for Menzies (Mr N. A. Brown) has explained under a division of labour between the two of us, have already been explained to the House and I shall be extremely brief. The effects of the amendments are: First, the role of the courts is preserved; and secondly, an additional safeguard which, as the Attorney-General (Mr Lionel Bowen) has pointed out, is taken from the 1870 extradition Act of the United Kingdom Parliament, is brought into play, where the surrender has in fact been made, by the addition of the words:

. . . that the requisition for his surrender has in fact been made with a view to try or punish him for an offence of a political character.

One cannot be too cautious in these matters. One can easily find cases in which extradition is made under the guise that a criminal offence has been committed, but the fact is that it is simply dressed up for the purposes of seeking to get a person returned to his country for political reasons and to be dealt with for a political offence.

The amendments preserve the proposed powers which will be vested in the Attorney-General so that he can conclude that the offence in question is in effect a political offence, even though the court might come to the opposite conclusion. Therefore, we have two general safeguards: Firstly, the courts can conclude that the offence in question is an offence of a political character; secondly, even when the court does not reach that conclusion, the Attorney-General can. And, as the Attorney-General has said, there may be cases in which courts will not have the material before them and, indeed, cases in which courts will not be as politically astute or as politically well versed as an Attorney-General may be expected to be. That being said, I do not think it is necessary to say anything more about these amendments. They are perfectly clear and I am very glad that the Attorney-General has taken the course of adopting the Opposition's amendments.