Coalition opposes call for global end to death penalty

The NSW Coalition Government blocked a motion in NSW Parliament today that condemned the death penalty internationally and called on the federal government to stop Australian law enforcement authorities from collaborating in Australian citizens’ overseas executions.

The motion, moved by Greens MP David Shoebridge, read:

  1. That this House condemns capital punishment as inhumane and barbaric, in every way inconsistent with the progressive development of human rights and the maintenance of liberal democracies around the globe.

  2. That this House notes with concern that more than 100 countries still practice capital punishment, including Australia’s near neighbours, Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia; Australia’s close ally, the United States; and Australia’s largest trade partners, the People’s Republic of China and Japan.

  3. That this House notes that the last execution in New South Wales was in 1939 and that New South Wales abolished the death penalty in 1984.

  4. That this House commends those countries in the Asia-Pacific region that have abolished the death penalty, including New Zealand, Bhutan, Fiji, the Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Kiribati, Nepal, Samoa, Timor-Leste, the Philippines and Vanuatu.

  5. That this House calls upon the Federal Government to:
    (a) undertake a vigorous international campaign to end to the death penalty in all nations, and
    (b) prevent Australian law enforcement agencies from collaborating with foreign authorities where it could lead to the imposition of the death penalty for an Australian citizen.

Greens MP and Justice Spokesperson David Shoebridge said:

“Just in case the people of New South Wales were under the misapprehension that their Government cared about human rights, the Coalition Government today blocked a parliamentary motion condemning the use of the death penalty.

“This motion condemned the death penalty as inhumane and barbaric, and the Coalition were the lone voice of objection.

“The Baird Government may support their federal using the AFP to collaborate with foreign governments where it could lead to Australian citizens being executed, but there are few in the community who agree with them.

“The Liberal Party appears to have learned nothing from the private and public heartbreak caused by the AFP’s contribution to the deaths of Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan.

“All Australian politicians, whether state or federal, should be united behind human rights and a global end to the death penalty,” Mr Shoebridge said.

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