Bali Nine’s Renae Lawrence urges Scott Morrison to help remaining jailed members


“Counter-terrorism efforts, the impact of plastic waste on the oceans and an open internet are also topics the Australian government is planning to discuss with the Indonesian leader.”

Mr Joko will be pushing for Mr Morrison to put a stop to stringent entry requirements for Indonesians wanting to travel to Australia as part of the discussions, telling The Australian that visas should be “reciprocal and fair”. Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi is also set to raise the issue with Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne.

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Trade Minister Simon Birmingham admitted that in the past the economic relationship between Indonesia and Australia had been “underdone” and a new trade agreement was a step up in the ties between the countries. The Indonesian parliament has voted to approve this bilateral agreement that was signed in 2019.

“This is a win-win agreement where stronger economic ties should also help to facilitate closer security, strategic and people-to-people ties between our two countries,” Mr Birmingham said.

He said it would open up more export opportunities to local businesses, lower barriers to trade and reduce costs particularly for farmers but also education, tourism and professional services.

“We expect the benefits from this trade deal to start flowing in a matter of months,” Mr Birmingham said.

Indonesia is Australia’s 13th largest trading partner, but Mr Birmingham said he wanted to see the country higher up on the list, similar to export boosts that followed trade deals with China, Japan and South-Korea.

This comes as the world leaders have been called on by Bali Nine convicted drug smuggler Renae Lawrence to help the remaining five members serving life sentences in Indonesia.

Ms Lawrence, who was released in November 2018 after more than 12 years behind bars for drug trafficking, spoke to media in Canberra on Sunday afternoon for the first time since her release and issued a plea to the Australian government.

Renae Lawrence before a court appearance in Bali in 2005.Credit:AAP

“I have no quarrel with the Indonesian legal system, but I continue to worry about these five young men who, if they had received the same sentence as me, may well have been back in Australia with their families by now,” she said.

Fellow Bali Nine member Tan Duc Thanh Nguyen died of stomach cancer in 2018 and Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran were executed in 2015.

‘I’m really hoping Scott Morrison will stand up and speak to Jokowi and really help these boys.’

Renae Lawrence

The other five members – Matthew Norman, Michael Czugaj, Scott Rush, Martin Stephens and Si Yi Chen – remain in prisons in Bali and Java, Ms Lawrence said, with the youngest of the group aged 18 when they were arrested in 2005. The men have all been given whole-of-life sentences.

Ms Lawrence speaks during a press conference in Canberra on Sunday.

Ms Lawrence speaks during a press conference in Canberra on Sunday.Credit:AAP

“Their families constantly travel to Indonesia to visit their sons at great expense,” she said.

She has asked that Mr Morrison use his discussions with the Indonesian leader to put in place determinant sentences and, if this is not a possibility, to organise a prisoner exchange to allow the families better access in an Australian prison.

“I’m really hoping Scott Morrison will stand up and speak to Jokowi [Mr Joko] and really help these boys,” Ms Lawrence said.

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