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Justice for Australians attacked overseas.



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ATTORNEY-GENERAL THE HON DARYL WILLIAMS AM QC MP MINISTER FOR JUSTICE AND CUSTOMS

SENATOR HON CHRIS ELLISON

NEWS RELEASE

Media Contact: Carina Tan-Van Baren (Mr Williams) (02) 6277 7300/ 0419 423 965 Mairi Barton (Senator Ellison) (02) 6277 7260/ 0439 300 335

www.law.gov.au

14 November 2002

JUSTICE FOR AUSTRALIANS ATTACKED OVERSEAS

Murderers of Australians overseas will be able to be brought to justice in Australia under legislation passed by the Federal Parliament today.

The Criminal Code Amendment (Offences Against Australians) Act 2002 amends the Criminal Code by inserting new provisions to make it an offence to murder, commit manslaughter or intentionally or recklessly cause serious harm to an Australian outside Australia.

The offences will be backdated to 1 October this year, with a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.

The new offences provide Australia with jurisdiction to prosecute those responsible for attacks on Australians committed overseas, such as those we experienced in Bali.

To extradite a suspected offender from another country, there must be ‘dual criminality’. That is, the conduct must be an offence in both Australia and the other country.

The new offence will enable extradition for murder. However, prosecution by Australian authorities will still depend on the country in which the suspects are located agreeing to their extradition to Australia.

The new legislation adds strength to the Howard Government’s counter-terrorism legislation, passed in June this year, which already has extra-territorial effect.

This new legislation will help to ensure that there are no loopholes that might otherwise prevent extradition from a country that does not have counter-terrorism laws similar to our own.

The speedy development and passage of this legislation demonstrates the Government’s commitment to ensuring Australia has every tool it needs to prosecute those who commit heinous crimes against Australians overseas.

It sends the strong message that we are committed to hunting down and bringing to justice those who seek to harm Australians and Australian interests, wherever they may be.