Sign and send submission to remove Attorney General's fiat.

Politicians should not have the power to prevent the pursuit of justice. Although Australia signed the Genocide Convention in 1948, it delayed enacting it into law until 2002 and then included conditions which allow politicians to prevent the pursuit of justice for the worst crimes of atrocity e.g. genocide. This power is commonly known as the ‘Attorney General’s fiat’. First Peoples’ allegations of genocide or other atrocities by Australian governments should be freely subject to legal proceedings, without the political control entailed in the Attorney General’s fiat. Senator Lidia Thorpe has introduced a Bill to remove the Attorney General’s fiat. You can read more details on Senator Thorpe’s website.

JAM! supports the call to remove the Attorney General’s Fiat and invites you to Sign and Send a submission to the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee by clicking on the box below.

Alternatively you can copy, paste and personalise your submission from below ...

				
					Submission to the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee inquiry into the Criminal Code Amendment (Genocide, Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes) Bill 2024.

I make this submission on the presumption that the Australian government is genuine in its desire to ensure justice for all and to the removal of any barriers to that end.

Thank you for considering this submission and I wish to make the following contributions:

1.         Justice, free from political interference, must be available to all citizens of Australia who are victims and survivors of crimes of atrocity.

2.         Under Division 268, Sections 121 and 122 of the Criminal Code Act 1995, the Attorney General, a political appointee, is given powers of consent in relation to the bringing of proceedings for offences under the Division i.e. crimes of atrocity. This power, commonly known as the Attorney General’s fiat, is only subject to jurisdiction of the High Court under the Constitution and is explicitly unchallengeable.
These sections imbed potential political interference into law. The inclusion of the Attorney General’s fiat in this law is itself a potential facilitator of atrocious crimes and therefore should be removed.

  3.         The amendments to the Criminal Code Act made in 2002, criminalised Genocide, Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes, but imposed the Attorney General’s fiat and temporal constraints i.e. limiting proceedings to criminal atrocities after 2002. In 2011 and 2018, Attorney-Generals used these powers to block proceedings which have sought justice in relation to Sri Lankan and Myanmar atrocities.

  4.         Australian governments must be subject to the rule of law in the same way that those laws are applied to its citizens. Allegations that our or other State government/s have committed atrocious crimes must be able to be brought and heard before court without approval or interference of political interests and particularly of those who are in power at the time offences are alleged to have been committed. First Peoples’ allegations of genocide or other atrocities by Australian governments should be freely subject to legal proceedings, without the political control entailed in the Attorney General’s fiat. It is fundamental to Truth-telling that those alleging they have been subject to atrocities should not be blocked from pursuing justice in the appropriate courts. Also, sadly, it seems Australia’s role in the current Israel - Palestine conflict continues to raise questions and challenge Australia’s commitment to the rule of law and this could also reasonably be expected to find a path to resolution through the courts.

  5.         Removing Division 268, Sections 121 and 122 will enhance our democracy and the rule of law by removing the political influence of the Attorney General. It will facilitate Truth-telling, accountability and further adherence to international human rights conventions. I strongly urge the enquiry to support this Bill.

Yours sincerely, 

(Your name)
(Your address)
(Your phone or email)

				
			

Names of intended recipients

Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee inquiry into the Criminal Code Amendment (Genocide, Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes) Bill 2024.

Email addresses of intended recipients

LegCon.Sen@aph.gov.au

Acknowledgement of Country

JAM! meets and works in ‘Mirring-gnay-bir-nong’ (Maribyrnong), which can translate as ‘I can hear a ringtail possum’, on the stolen lands of the Bunurong/Boonwurrung and Wurundjeri/Woiwurrung of the Kulin Nation. We acknowledge, recognise and respect their Ancestors, Elders and families as the traditional owners of this land who have never ceded sovereignty.

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