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July 2 2009 | AUSTRALIA


Federal Government warns states: death penalty never again

printable version

The Sidney Morning Herald

Law to ensure death penalty stays dead

Cynthia Banham Diplomatic Correspondent

July 1, 2009

THE Federal Government has written to the states telling them of its plans to introduce laws banning them from ever reintroducing the death penalty, whether they like it or not.

Although all states have abolished the death penalty, under existing laws there is nothing preventing a future government from bringing it back.

The Herald understands the federal Attorney-General, Robert McClelland, wrote to his state counterparts on June 16 informing them "of the Commonwealth Government's intention to introduce legislation to prohibit the application of the death penalty throughout Australia". The Herald has obtained a copy of the letter.

The language of the letter is significant, as it indicates the Government has chosen to use the external affairs power in the constitution to put the prohibition in place. This is instead of asking the states to refer their powers to the Commonwealth to enable it to pass the laws banning the reintroduction of the death penalty - an option considered less watertight by the Government because usually states refer their powers for only a limited period.

It is understood the Government has legal advice that it has the power under the external affairs power, and international treaties signed by Australia including the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to enact the laws.

The Government has given the states until Monday to respond to its letter. It says the formal prohibition would "further demonstrate our nation's commitment to the worldwide abolitionist movement".

October 25 2016


October 15 2016

Human rights activist asks Pope to discuss the death penalty with Lukashenka

Andrei Paluda, coordinator of the campaign "Human Rights Defenders against the Death Penalty in Belarus", has sent a letter to Pope Francis, asking him to touch upon the issue of capital punishment during his meeting with President Lukashenka.
October 10 2016
October 10,14th World Day Against the Death Penalty

On the 14th world day against the death penalty a conference entitled "No Justice Without Life" will be held in Japan

July 2 2016
Address and the Final Ceremony by Mario Marazziti. Nobel Peace Prize Room, City Hall. June 23rd 2016

CITIES FOR LIFE – CITIES AGAINST THE DEATH PENALTY 6th World Congress Against the Death Penalty in Oslo

by Mario Marazziti
June 25 2016

Pope Francis: “Death penalty is unacceptable”

Pope Francis addresses the authorities, the associations, the activists and the civil society gathered in Oslo on the occasion of the World Congress Against the Death Penalty through a video message.
June 21 2016
The 6th Congress Against the Death Penalty opens today in Oslo

The Community of Sant'Egidio takes part in the congress with delegations from Italy, Congo, Belgium, Spain, Germany and Indonesia

1500 attendants coming from over 80 countries. Among them, 20 ministers, 200 diplomats, members of different parliaments, scholars, lawyers, members of various associations and civil society actors
all related news

October 24 2016
New York Times

The Death Penalty, Nearing Its End
June 4 2016
The Washington Post

Meet the red-state conservatives fighting to abolish the death penalty
May 23 2016

Malaysian death row convict loses final appeal in Singapore
May 23 2016

Vescovo filippino: È presto per giudicare il contraddittorio Duterte. No alla pena di morte
May 14 2016

Pfizer blocca i farmaci per la pena di morte negli Usa
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Motion Grafic cities for life FR -
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