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Labor calls for review of mutual assistance.



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SENATOR JOE LUDWIG

Shadow Minister for Justice and Customs Manager of Opposition Business in the Senate Labor Senator for Queensland

9 October 2005

LABOR CALLS FOR REVIEW OF MUTUAL ASSISTANCE

Shadow Justice Minister Joe Ludwig today said news that two members of the Bali Nine had launched legal action in the Federal Court against the Australian Federal Police highlights the need for a review into the operation of Mutual Assistance.

Labor’s call is backed up by the recent findings of the Senate Legal and Constitutional Committee which recommended:

The committee recommends that the Australian Government, conjunction with the Australian Federal Police and other stakeholders, policy and procedures on international police to police assistance. In the Australian Government should ensure appropriate ministerial supervision assistance provided to overseas jurisdictions by Australian law enforcement agencies, where that assistance may expose Australians overseas to or inhumane treatment or punishment, including the death penalty.

"Labor supports the call by the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee for a review of the policy and legislation in this area, and we now also call on the Government to commit to a review.

“Both police and the Government need certainty in law and policy in this area.

"We need international police co-operation to fight transnational crime but Labor is concerned that the Government’s inability to articulate the law in this area places at risk public support for our law enforcement efforts.

"We need an explanation from the Minister how these laws operate and how they are in the national interest.

"I find it absolutely amazing that the Government has left Australia unprepared for clear and transparent dealings where the lives of our citizens are at stake."

For further information contact: Joe Ludwig 0418 887 525 or Simon Every 0417 955 182