Title Anti-Genocide Bill gets the go-ahead: Senate moves towards ratifying 1949 Convention.
Database Press Releases
Date 14-10-1999
Author GREIG, Brian, (former Senator)
Citation Id 6SG06
Cover date 14 Oct. 1999
Format Online Text
In Government no
Item Online Text: 432872
Key item No
MP no
Party AD
Speech No
System Id media/pressrel/6SG06

Anti-Genocide Bill gets the go-ahead: Senate moves towards ratifying 1949 Convention.



Senator Brian Greig

Australian Democrats

Spokesperson for Law and Justice


October 14, 1999 99/546



Anti-Genocide Bill gets the go-ahead


Senate moves towards ratifying 1949 Convention



The Australian Democrats today successfully instigated Australia’s first and most significant parliamentary inquiry into Genocide as a crime in Australia, with the support of all parties except One Nation.


Democrats Law and Justice spokesperson, Senator Brian Greig said that although Australia was signatory to the 1949 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (the Convention), successive governments have failed to enshrine this law domestically.


This was brought to attention by the recent Federal Court decision (Nulyarimma v Thompson) which confirmed that there is no offence of genocide known in Australian law.


“As with the crime of piracy, genocide should be punishable by any nation State, but in order to do so, we must first ensure that Genocide is formally recognised in Australian law,” Senator Greig said.


The Senate overwhelmingly supported the Democrats motion to send the Anti-Genocide Bill to the Senate Legal and Constitutional Committee for investigation and review.


Through the inquiry, the Senate Legal and Constitutional Committee will be required to:


· formulate an appropriate definition of genocide;


· consider laws in other jurisdictions which have implemented the Convention, eg Canada, UK and USA;


· investigate the implications of the Federal Court decision on the 1 September 1999 in Nulyarimma v Thompson;


· consider the extraterritorial application of Australian law, particularly as it may relate to East Timor;


· review the relationship between Australian and international criminal law enforcement mechanisms for bringing perpetrators of genocide to justice.


The Committee is due to report its findings to the Senate by June 30, 2000.



Contacts: Senator Brian Greig, 026277 3338 or Di Graham on 0409 089 159

Legal Advisor: 0418 815 727



lk  1999-10-15  10:37