Bill's Transcripts

ABC News24 - Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran






SUBJECT: Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran.



KUMI TAGUCHI: The Opposition Leader Bill Shorten is attending a vigil in Melbourne's Federation Square tonight calling for mercy for Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran. He joins us from there live. Mr Shorten, thanks for your time this evening.




TAGUCHI: Firstly, could you just give us an insight into who you have been talking to there tonight and what people have said to you?


SHORTEN: I think a lot of Australians are shocked at the idea that the death penalty will be carried out on these two young men. When I say shocked, what I mean is that I think a lot of people simply believe in Australia that the death penalty doesn't solve anything and that wherever it occurs, in any circumstances, we are all demeaned. The people here know that crimes were committed but they also understand really clearly, I believe, that justice is not served by the execution and the cost of two men’s' lives, that people aren't asking for these young men to be automatically freed or indeed forgiven, but there is no case to take these two young men from the world.


TAGUCHI: It does seem though that the Indonesian Government appears to be moving towards that direction. The Indonesian foreign ministry today of course angrily reacted to the Prime Minister's comments today about linking aid to the execution of the two men. Did the PM go too far, has he pushed that boundary a little bit far?


SHORTEN: I am not going to criticise the Prime Minister today. For a marvellous brief opportunity, the matter seems to have been delayed. That is where I think the focus is. The Indonesian people and the Australian people have long term interests and long term friendship. This delay, for whatever reason, and I don't want to raise anyone's hopes,  gives the tiniest window of unexpected opportunity and it gives us all the opportunity, the family, lawyers, the Government, the Foreign Affairs representatives to talk to their friends in Indonesia and say surely there is another path other than the execution of these two young men.


TAGUCHI: Those long term interests you mentioned there Bill Shorten, what is the value of those long term interests - not on a monetary level but on a human level, where is that balance, at what point, say Julie Bishop saying today that the Government might withdraw the Australian Ambassador to Indonesia if the executions go ahead, what is that balance between long term interests, diplomatic interests, trade interests and human lives?


SHORTEN: There is only one interest today, it is trying to prevent the execution of these two young men who over the last 10 years, by all accounts, by first hand reports from the people who know best, have clearly repented, have clearly rehabilitated from the set of circumstances which led them to commit the crime they did. For me, there is only one set of interests, it is not about the debate about what may happen in the event of execution, it is to provide the best possible environment to prevent the execution. That is all that matters.


TAGUCHI: And that environment Bill Shorten, is there a point in diplomatic terms, not necessarily talking about this particular case, I know you don’t want to extrapolate beyond today, but is there a point where a country's leader’s' pride overtakes his rational thought around diplomacy, for example is pushing the Indonesian President to a point too far, is he going the then, will pride intervene where he then says well you know what I can't take a step back now, I’ve got to pretty much stick to my line?


SHORTEN: I truly believe that strength can be established not just through angry words but through calm and sensible and temperate action. It is through engagement with Indonesia and their authorities, lies the best path to prevent the execution of these two young men. Every day of the year I can have an argument with the Government about other matters, but I simply won't let myself be drawn into a fight with the Government and what really matters now is saving these two men. So I get what you are asking about diplomatic ego and long term but for me, there has been a lot of behind the scenes work. I know the family lawyers who I spoke to in Bali this morning are working as hard as they can. I think the message from a whole lot of ordinary civilians here is that Australians would like to see Indonesians who are a merciful people, extend mercy to these young Australian men.


TAGUCHI: Opposition Leader Bill Shorten joining us live from Melbourne, thanks so much for your time this evening.


SHORTEN: Thank you.