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Report Details

Committee Name:

Constitutional Affairs Committee (1989 - 2001)


Legislative Council
Report Type:Report


Prisoners (International Transfer) Bill 1999
Report No:42
No of Pages:15
Physical Location:Legislative Council Committee Office

Presentation Date:


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Hide details for Executive Summary and RecommendationsExecutive Summary and Recommendations
1. Executive Summary
      a. The purpose of the Prisoners (International Transfer) Bill 1999 ("the Bill") is to enable Western Australia to join a Commonwealth-State scheme for the international transfer of prisoners ("the transfer scheme") to and from Western Australia. The transfer scheme provides for Australians imprisoned in foreign countries, and foreign nationals imprisoned in Australia, to be returned to their home countries to complete the serving of their sentences.
      b. As a result of the enactment of the International Transfer of Prisoners Act 1997 (Cth) ("the Commonwealth Act"), it is necessary for Western Australia to enact model State legislation to give effect to the transfer scheme. The aim of the Bill is to provide a framework to allow the Commonwealth Act to operate in Western Australia. The Bill is relatively straightforward and complements the Commonwealth Act which contains most of the core elements of the transfer scheme.
      c. The transfer scheme was agreed to on the basis that:
              •the Commonwealth will administer the transfer scheme, provide an administrative structure for transfers, and regulate the status of prisoners who are transferred;
              •States and Territories will pass legislation providing the necessary authority for the transfer of State or Territory offenders out of their jurisdiction and to permit the detention within their prisons of persons outside their jurisdiction;
              •jurisdictions agree to accept prisoners on transfer to their prisons on the basis of demonstrated community ties;
              •the Commonwealth will meet the costs of administering the transfer scheme, including the costs of negotiating participation in any appropriate multilateral schemes, bilateral transfer treaties or other transfer arrangements, and the receiving State or Territory will meet the costs of transfer from overseas to Australia and of maintaining prisoners during their terms of imprisonment in Australia; and
              •the transfer scheme will apply to all offences without exception.
      d. As well as providing a framework for the general transfer of prisoners, the Commonwealth Act also enables persons who have been convicted by either of the two international war crimes tribunals established in 1993 and 1994 by the United Nations Security Council to deal with war crimes committed in the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda to be transferred to Australia to serve their sentences.
      e. The Commonwealth and State legislation, taken together, will not be sufficient to enable prisoners to be transferred to and from Western Australia. Once all of the participating States have passed legislation, the Commonwealth Government will negotiate transfer treaties with foreign countries. Administrative arrangements will have to be entered into between the States and the Commonwealth, defining the relationship between, and the responsibilities of, the Commonwealth and the States in administering the scheme. Once these treaties and administrative arrangements are in place, transfers will then be possible.

2. Recommendations
      a. This report outlines selected clauses of the Prisoners (International Transfer) Bill 1999 which require explanation and makes comment and recommendations in relation to those clauses. The Committee believes there is nothing controversial in the Bill, however does highlight several matters for consideration.

      Recommendation: The Committee recommends that all clauses be passed.