Address to candlelight vigil

  • Speech, E&OE
05 March 2015

Prime Minister, Leader of the Opposition, colleagues.

We are here this morning united in a cause and that is to save the lives of two Australian citizens, Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran. We ask the Indonesian Government, indeed we appeal to the Indonesian President, to grant a stay of clemency. First there are still legal avenues open to the men and an appeal is being sought before the State Administrative Court. Secondly, there are allegations being considered by their Judicial Commission regarding bribery charges arising from the original trial. But most importantly the concepts of mercy and forgiveness have as big a place in Indonesian law as they do in Australian law and we ask that the remorse be taken into account.

I've spoken to these men, they are genuinely, seriously remorseful for what they did and they have been rehabilitated in the most remarkable way. And it is to the credit of the Indonesian prison system that two men who were convicted of the most serious of crimes have indeed been rehabilitated. They are changed men and they are making a positive contribution to the life of others who are seeking to be rehabilitated in the Indonesian prison system. And as our co-conveners of Australian Parliamentarians Against the Death Penalty have indicated we are asking no more of Indonesia than Indonesia asks and receives from other countries when its citizens are facing the death penalty. Australia opposes the death penalty at home and abroad and we commend Indonesia for opposing the death penalty for their citizens abroad.

I've spoken to the families. They are going through an unimaginably difficult time and I ask that you think of the families who are praying that their son, brother, grandson can have their life spared. We appeal again to President Widodo, the leader of a strong and proud country, to show mercy and forgiveness and spare the lives of these two young Australians.

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