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Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 22128

Doorstop Interview Parliament House, Canberra

Photo of Howard, John

Howard, John

Period of Service: 11/03/1996 to 03/12/2007

More information about Howard, John on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 14/02/2006

Release Type: Interview

Transcript ID: 22128

PRIME MINISTER:

I think the sentences were predictable given the weight of evidence. Can I just say to every young Australian, please take notice of this, I even beg them not to take the terrible risk that these young people have done. Their lives destroyed in the case two people, their lives could well be taken. You can not expect governments in other countries to take a soft view on drugs, they hate drugs, they have severe penalties and everybody knows that and it's no good people blaming the police or blaming others. I feel desperately sorry for the parents of these people, I do, all of us as parents would feel that way. But the warnings have been there for decades and how on earth any young Australian can be so stupid as to take the risk is completely beyond me.

JOURNALIST:

Do you intend to raise this matter with the Indonesian President?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well we will take the appropriate action but you cannot expect the Australian Government to overturn the laws of another country and could I also say that I defend the role and the action of the Australian Federal Police and the attempt understandably by parents, I understand that and I respect their distraught state and I don't condemn them. Others who are implying that in some way it's the fault of the Australian Federal Police, I think that is very unfair. The police are there to protect us from the ravages of drugs and I just hope that every young Australian who might in their wildest imagination think that they can get away this, will take a lesson from this, the terrible consequences of what they've done. These are very severe penalties but they are the penalties prescribed by the laws of Indonesia and I don't think anybody is suggesting that the law wasn't carried out.

JOURNALIST:

Prime Minister do you think there is any chance that efforts by the Australian Government now could be successful in saving their lives?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well I don't want to raise expectations, we are against the death penalty, we will make, in an appropriate way, at the appropriate time, representations. But there is an appeal process, but I would be failing in my duty to the future and to the possibly that other young Australians might be caught if I didn't repeat my entreaty to every young Australian to take notice of this and they cannot expect for the Australian Government to somehow or other overturn the laws of another country.

JOURNALIST:

Mr Howard these people were caught while there were numerous other high profile cases going on in Indonesia, do you think any kind of message is actually getting through to young people?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well it clearly didn't get through to them, but I can only keep trying because it is a terrible waste of young lives but then so are the lives of young people wasted by drugs so you've got to consider that. Thank you.

[ends]

Transcript 22128