October 9, 2006
A Labor frontbencher will put forward a motion calling on Indonesia to "understand" Australia's opposition to the death penalty after receiving a moving letter from a convicted drug trafficker.
Labor defence spokesman Robert McClelland received the letter from convicted Bali nine trafficker Scott Rush, who is facing the death penalty.
Fairfax newspapers report that Rush wrote the letter to Mr McClelland after his appeal for a lighter sentence was rejected by Indonesia's Supreme Court last month.
In the letter, he apologises unreservedly for all the pain he has caused and calls for a "just penalty" and sentence.
"I have learnt so much in the time I have been here, and in the time that I have had to face my future with my faith and final courage," he wrote.
Mr McClelland said he would now put forward a private member's notice of motion calling on Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to extend clemency.
It will also call on Dr Yudhoyono to commute the sentences if a challenge to the execution fails and to "note and understand Australia's strong opposition to the death penalty".
Mr McClelland said the motion will not mention the Australian Federal Police's decision to allow Rush to leave Australia for Bali even though his father tipped them off about the trip.
But, MPs could express their feelings on this issue if the motion was debated, Mr McClelland said.
Federal Attorney-General Philip Ruddock believes any appeal to the Indonesian president for clemency for death-row drug mule Scott Rush is premature.
Mr Ruddock, who recently spoke with Rush's parents in Brisbane, said it was too early to try to influence the Indonesian president on a matter that is still before the courts.
"At the moment, the principal issue is in relation to a further appeal," Mr Ruddock told ABC radio.
"I would want see that worked through before we
start working to try and convince the government
that the administrative measures of clemency might be pursued.
"We don't look at clemency in Australia when matters are before the courts.
"And the president of Indonesia doesn't look at those issues while they are still the subject of appeals."
Scott Rush Case Page
Click Here for Bali 9 Case Information
© 2006 - AAP