Democrats Justice spokesman Brian Greig urged the Senate to allow early debate of the Democrats proposed anti-genocide bill as such legislation was already 52 years overdue and was a matter of urgency.
“As a nation we signed the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide in 1949 and yet no intervening government has moved to enact the Convention into domestic law,” Senator Greig said.
“As a consequence of this failing, the crime of genocide is not unlawful in Australia.”
Highlighting the high profile examples of alleged Nazi war criminal Konrad Kalejs, Senator Greig said Australia needed to have its own laws to investigate, prosecute and expel alleged war criminals.
He said Australia’s existing War Crimes Act applied only to European war between 1939 and 1945 and ignored recent cases of war crimes in East Timor, Rwanda and Cambodia.
While Labor supported the essence of the bill, it would not overturn the business of the Senate because of the government’s inaction, Opposition Senate leader John Faulkner said.
Senator Faulkner said there were also a
number of unresolved issues in the bill that meant Labor could not
support it in its entirety.
Senator Greig’s motion to debate the bill failed 8 to 10.
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