Bishop hits out at "cheap political shot" on death penalty

BIPARTISANSHIP ENDS: Indonesian Attorney-General, H.M. Prasetyo (second right) and National Police Chief General Badrodin Haiti on Nusakambangan Island.
BIPARTISANSHIP ENDS: Indonesian Attorney-General, H.M. Prasetyo (second right) and National Police Chief General Badrodin Haiti on Nusakambangan Island. Aap

A RARE political truce over clemency efforts for the Bali Nine pair has been broken, with Foreign Minister Julie Bishop accusing Labor of politicising the issue just 24 hours after the executions.

The bipartisan approach from both major parties ended after a Fairfax report quoted senior Opposition figures hitting out at changes to ministerial directives for the Australian Federal Police in death penalty cases.

Labor had added a ministerial directive in 2010 that the AFP needed to take into account the death penalty in foreign nations when sharing information about crimes, if the information could put Australian lives at risk.

That directive was changed last year by the Abbott government.

Justice Minister Michael Keenan and Ms Bishop rejected claims it meant overseas death penalties were not taken into account.

The government said it had maintained Labor's 2009 guidelines for the AFP to consider foreign death penalty laws, after Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran were executed in such a case in Indonesia this week.

Ms Bishop said she was "very angry to think that less than 24 hours after those executions have taken place, Labor is seeking to take a cheap political shot" over the issue.

However, independent Senator Nick Xenophon said it was a "mystery" why the directive was changed and he believed the government needed to explain it.

He said the new directive had created "confusion" about Australia's stance on the death penalty.


Foreign Minister Julie Bishop.
Foreign Minister Julie Bishop.

Bishop calls for death penalty talks


FOREIGN Minister Julie Bishop has called for a "significant discussion" across the Asia-Pacific on the death penalty in drug offence cases.

A day after two Australians were among eight executed in Indonesia, Ms Bishop said it was time for talks about the use of the death penalty as a deterrent.

Speaking to reporters in Sydney, she said she did not believe the death penalty acted as a deterrent to "the proliferation of the drug trade in our region".

But the public proposal may take some time to eventuate, after ministerial contacts were suspended between Australia and Indonesia, and each country's ambassadors sent home after the executions.

Ms Bishop also said that in circumstances where an Australian citizen was facing the death penalty "wherever they are, I will make application to have those commuted".

Topics:  bali nine death penalty indonesia julie bishop

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