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Bishop must explain conflicting reports of West Papua incident: Greens

Media Release
Richard Di Natale 8 Oct 2013

Australian Greens spokesperson for West Papua, Senator Richard Di Natale, today has written to the Foreign Minister Julie Bishop to request a full account of the events relating to three West Papuans entering the Australian Consulate in Bali over the weekend. “Given that the lives of three West Papuans were potentially put at risk by the actions of the Australian Consulate over the weekend, it’s crucial that we get to the bottom of conflicting reports about what actually took place,” said Senator Di Natale, founding co-chair of the Parliamentary Friends of West Papua group. “One of the West Papuans has claimed himself on ABC radio that the consulate threatened to call in the Indonesian authorities, an action that would likely have resulted in his imprisonment and possible torture. This claim has been supported by Dr Clinton Fernandez, a respected academic and expert on the region, and by sources in Indonesia who claim to have overheard what happened over an open phone line. “Julie Bishop and Andrew Robb have both insisted that the West Papuans left the consulate voluntarily. The Department of Foreign Affairs has issued a statement to the same effect but they have refused to specifically rule out whether a threat to contact the Indonesian authorities was made. “We must resolve this very serious matter. I want to know if Australian officials were willing to put the lives of these men at risk in order to avoid a diplomatic incident. “Today I’ve written to the Foreign Minister to request detailed documentation regarding what took place, including any advice provided to the consulate by the government or DFAT and any written reports from the consulate about the incident. “If the government fails to release all the information requested before parliament resumes then I will be moving a Senate motion for the production of documents at the earliest possible date.” Contact: Andrew Blyberg - 0457 901 600

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