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Petition against the death penalty for Scott Rush and others

December 7th, 2006

I’ve attached a copy of a petition I’ve signed opposing the imposition of the death penalty on Scott Rush and others of the “Bali Nine”. Apart from general issues concerning the death penalty, I agree with the petition’s view that the actions of the Australian Federal Police in this matter have been deplorable. Although the primary offence being committed was against Australia, and the AFP was in a position to arrest Rush and others on their arrival in Australia, they chose to hand them over to the Indonesian police instead. As noted in Rush’s case, the police ignored an approach from his parents to prevent his committing the crimes.

The Petition

To: The Honourable the Speaker and Members of the House of Representatives:
1. The petition of citizens of Australia draws the attention of the House to the plight of Scott Rush and five other young Australian citizens sentenced, by the Indonesian Supreme Court in August 2006, to death by firing squad.
2. We accept that respect for life is a fundamental value in Australian society.
3. Australia abolished the death penalty in 1973.
4. Australia did so because the death penalty was barbaric and did not act as a deterrent.
5. We are concerned that Scott Rush and five other young Australian citizens now face the death penalty in Indonesia.
6. We note that the parents of Scott Rush contacted the Australian Federal Police to enlist their assistance to warn their son of the potential consequences of committing any offence whilst abroad in Indonesia.
7. We note that the Australian Federal Police ignored Mr and Mrs Rushís request to warn their son.
8. We note that the Australian Federal Police gave formal notification to the Indonesian National Police in April 2005 of the likelihood that Scott Rush and eight other Australian citizens were likely to commit drug related offences in circumstances where they were almost inevitably exposed to the death penalty.
9. We urge the Australian Government to exercise a tighter Ministerial control over the Australian Federal Police in potential death penalty situations.
10. We oppose the ability of the Australian Federal Police to predicably expose Australian citizens to the death penalty in their operations under the guise of international cooperation.
11. We consider the sentence imposed on Scott Rush and the other condemned couriers now on death row to be grossly disproportionate to their level of criminality.

Your petitioners therefore request the House to:

1. acknowledge the gross error of judgment of the Australian Federal Police in delivering up to the Indonesian National Police nine young Australian citizens when they well knew that the inevitable consequence of their action was to expose each of these young people to death.

2. take legislative measures to ensure the Australian Federal Police cannot, in the future, by their administrative decisions and conduct, expose Australian citizens to the death penalty.

3. give active and practical assistance to the six young Australian citizens in their remaining legal proceedings in Indonesia.

4. urge clemency upon the President of Indonesia in respect of Scott Rush and the five other young Australians condemned to death.

5. make known to the Indonesian Government the importance of the Australian peopleís opposition to the death penalty.

PetitionreScottRush-LV.doc

Update Please note that electronic signatures are unacceptable. The petition must be printed and signed, then sent to Parliament.

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