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Thursday, 22 May 1980
Page: 3222


Mr Humphreys asked the Minister representing the Attorney-General, upon notice, on 2 April 1980:

(1)   Further to the Attorney-General's reply to my question No. 4843 (Hansard, 22 November 1979, page 3493), what is the result of negotiations undertaken concerning the scheme for the transfer of prisoners between the States and Territories.

(2)   When will a decision be made concerning my suggestion that arrangements should be made to allow for a foreign person serving a sentence of imprisonment, including imprisonment in default of a line for a breach of Australian laws while fishing in the Australian Fishing Zone, to be transferred to his home country for the purpose of serving the sentence in that country.


Mr Viner -The Attorney-General has provided the following answer to the honourable member's question:

(   1 ) Since the answer to Question No. 4843 was provided, negotiations have continued between the Commonwealth, the States and the Northern Territory for a scheme for the transfer of prisoners within Australia. While substantial agreement has been reached on points of principle, it will be some time before the necessary legislation will be enacted.

(2)   In my answer to Question No. 4843, 1 indicated that the conclusion of arrangements for the transfer of prisoners with other countries will have to await the outcome of the negotiations for a scheme for the transfer of prisoners within Australia. Proposals for the development of arrangements for the transfer of prisoners between Commonwealth countries were discussed at the Commonwealth Law Ministers Meeting held in Winnipeg in 1978 and again at the Law Ministers Meeting in Barbados from 28 April to 2 May 1 980. At the latter meeting Ministers endorsed in principle the suggestion that a scheme for the transfer of prisoners should be developed and have, as its basis, the consent of the countries involved, and in particular, the consent of the prisoner himself. Ministers also agreed that the process of consultation should continue through the Commonwealth SecretaryGeneral and on a regional basis. While it would be preferable, for practical reasons, to await the outcome of the consultations on an arrangement for the transfer of prisoners within Australia, the Commonwealth is quite prepared to engage in negotiations with other countries interested in concluding transfer schemes with Australia, particularly other Commonwealth countries and our immediate neighbours in the South-East Asian and Pacific areas. Late in 1978 preliminary discussions were held with visiting Canadian officers on the principles on which a scheme for the transfer of prisoners between our two countries could be based. Subsequently discussions with New Zealand were intitiated. I propose that those discussions should continue.







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