Bali Nine: Palmer in legal bid to stop more executions

Sunshine Coast MP Clive Palmer
Sunshine Coast MP Clive Palmer Brett Wortman

SUNSHINE Coast MP Clive Palmer says he will push for new laws to make it an offence for police or public officials to contribute to the execution of Australians overseas.

Mr Palmer said he would introduce a private members bill to bring in the Foreign Death Penalty Offences Act 2015.

It follows the execution of convicted drug smugglers Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran in Indonesia in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

Mr Palmer criticised the Australian Federal Police for supplying information to the Indonesians which led to the arrest and conviction of the Bali Nine more than 10 years ago.

The Australian has previously reported how Lee Rush learned in April 2005 that his son Scott was off to Bali.

Scott had no money, no passport - as far as his father knew - and a history of drug use.

Rush phoned an old lawyer friend, who voiced his worst fears: that Scott might be travelling as a paid courier to carry drugs, the newspaper reported.

The two men agreed the 19-year-old had to be stopped.

Myers rang a contact in the Australian Federal Police and asked him to have Scott intercepted before he left the country, on suspicion of illegal activity.

Instead, as the young Queenslander was preparing to fly out of Australia, the AFP tipped off their counterparts in the Indonesian National Police.

Nine days later Rush was arrested with three other mules at Bali's Denpasar airport as they were about to return home with nearly 8kg of heroin strapped to their bodies.

In a news conference today, Mr Palmer said the life of Mr Rush and his son seemed to be 'of little consequence' to the AFP.

He said he was proposing to make such action an offence under Australian law.

"This act, I think, will play a critical role in ensuring that these things don't happen again,'' Mr Palmer said.

"We can't do much for the people that have lost their lives or their families but we can ensure that they are like a beacon of hope for those who go after them to ensure this doesn't happen again and Australian public servants or officer we employ with taxpayer's money do carry out their duties in the best interests of Australians.''

Mr Palmer denied suggestions it would interfere with intelligence operations overseas, including the FBI.

He said such agencies withheld information from other countries to protect their own national interests.

"It's clear this is a civil matter not an intelligence matter. We think we shouldn't be ensuring that Australians can be executed in a foreign land and we don't want to assist people in doing that."

Mr Palmer denied he was politicising the issue a few hours after the men's deaths.

"We're certainly not politicising it, we're trying to say this is a solution and we're not saying the Labor Party or Liberal Party or any particular party is separate on this. I think all Australians need to come together.''

Tanya Plibersek, the Opposition's Deputy Leader, condemned the executions.

"I think most Australians who've watched the footage that we've seen over the last few days have been hurt and angered that our pleas for mercy, our pleas for clemency haven't been heeded," she said.

"What the families of these young men have been put through over the last decade but certainly over the last days and weeks is beyond endurance."

Ms Plibersek said the Indonesia's actions had damaged relations between the two countries.

"I think their treatment has been hurtful in the extreme.

"We are two countries that have had long and friendly relations. We have pleaded for mercy for our citizens, those pleas have not been heard.

"But in addition to that, to see the way that the families have been exposed in these media scrums, to receive no formal notification, it's deeply hurtful for Australians."

Topics:  andrew chan australian federal police bali nine clive palmer editors picks myuran sukumaran

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