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Tuesday, 8 February 2005
Page: 223

Senator Brown asked the Minister for Justice and Customs, upon notice, on 17 November 2004:

With reference to Mr Kirk Pinner, an Australian citizen incarcerated in the United States of America (USA):

(1)   Is Australia a signatory to the International Transfer of Prisoners Scheme; if so, what assistance can an Australian citizen imprisoned in the USA expect from the Australian Government once an application for transfer has been lodged in the USA.

(2)   What action has the Australian Government taken to facilitate such a transfer since Mr Pinner lodged an application for transfer back to Australia from Idaho in May 2004.

(3)   Does Mr Pinner meet the criteria for prisoner transfer, given that he is an Australian citizen whose principal place of residence is Australia and has at least six months of his sentence remaining to be served.

(4)   Will the Minister now pursue the transfer of Mr Pinner to Australia with the USA authorities.

Senator Ellison (Minister for Justice and Customs) —The answer to the honourable senator’s question is as follows:

The Australian Government does not disclose details of any application for international transfer of a prisoner. Answers on the general operation of the international transfer of prisoners scheme are:

(1)   Yes. Australia is a signatory to the Council of Europe Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons. That Convention is the main multilateral agreement providing for the international transfer of prisoners. Australia also has a bilateral agreement with Thailand for the transfer of prisoners. An Australian citizen can expect normal consular assistance from the Australian Government, which can include monitoring the progress of any international transfer of prisoner application.

(2)   The Australian Government processes any application for international transfer in accordance with the International Transfer of Prisoners Act 1997 and relevant agreement as quickly as is possible. The international transfer of a prisoner requires the consent of the sending country, the receiving country and the prisoner. Where the transfer or receiving country has a federal system of government, it is often a requirement under the relevant legislation that both levels of government consent to the transfer. This is certainly the case in Australia and the United States of America.

(3)   In addition to the criteria of citizenship and balance of sentencing remaining, the International Transfer of Prisoners Act 1997 requires a number of other conditions to be satisfied, including the consent of all parties.

(4)   See response to question (2).