Australia will press for an international moratorium on capital punishment, the government said today, hours after three Bali bombers were executed by firing squad.
The federal government and opposition are united in opposing the death penalty, although the government has been criticised for failing to appeal for clemency for the Bali bombers.
Foreign Minister Stephen Smith said Australia would soon co-sponsor a resolution in the United Nations General Assembly calling for a moratorium on capital punishment.
“We urge countries who continue to apply capital punishment not to do so,” he told ABC Television just hours after the executions in Indonesia.
Opposition foreign affairs spokeswoman Helen Coonan described the bombings as a “particularly heinous crime”, but said the coalition backed the government in its continued opposition to capital punishment.
“From the opposition’s perspective, we don’t support the death penalty,” Senator Coonan told Sky News.
“We do respect other countries’ legal systems, just as we do expect other countries to respect ours.”
Australian Greens leader Bob Brown said the Greens supported the government’s moves to call for an end to capital punishment.
“I am with the government and opposition in saying the death penalty is never warranted,” Senator Brown told reporters in Brisbane.
Bombers Mukhlas, Amrozi and Imam Samudra, three of the men responsible for the 2002 attacks in Bali that killed 202 people, including 88 Australians, were executed by firing squad in Indonesia just after midnight (0400 AEDT) today.
Amnesty International said the government’s failure to call for clemency in the three men’s case has put the lives of Australians on death row at risk, such as three members of the Bali Nine.
Australian drug smugglers Scott Rush, Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan are facing the firing squad.
But while silent on the fate of Mukhlas, Amrozi and Imam Samudra, the government has been lobbying hard to save the lives of the three Australians.
“By being selective in its call for clemency the government is promoting a two-tiered policy on capital punishment, which inevitably undermines Australia’s standing on the issue, and which inevitably has an effect on Australians who are facing the death penalty in Indonesia,” Amnesty campaign coordinator Katie Wood told AAP.
A religious minister who regularly visits members of the heroin trafficking ring in their Bali prison said the executions had clearly impacted on the Australian group.
“Their general mood is a bit more sombre,” Pastor Ed Trotter told AAP.
“It’s obviously very much on their minds. It’s been weighing more heavily upon them – particularly the three facing the death sentence – than it has before.
“It’s really brought it home to them, what they’re facing and how serious the government is.”