SENATOR PENNY WONG
LEADER OF THE AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY IN THE SENATE
SHADOW MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS
LABOR SENATOR FOR SOUTH AUSTRALIA
BRENDAN O’CONNOR MP
SHADOW MINISTER FOR DEFENCE
MEMBER FOR GORTON
Labor’s thoughts today are with the families of Sapper Martin, Private Poate and Lance Corporal Milosevic following public confirmation their killer has been released, with his whereabouts unknown.
Australians deserve a full explanation from the Morrison-Joyce Government, detailing what it knows about the terms of Hekmatullah’s release and his current whereabouts, and what representations were made to try and prevent his release.
Lance Corporal Milosevic’s widow Kelly Walton has expressed her disappointment at the lack of answers from the Morrison-Joyce Government.
Mr Morrison has an obligation to the families of these three men, and all Australians, to explain what steps his Government is taking with coalition partners to confirm his location and ensure he will be subject to international movement restrictions.
Labor has previously raised its strong objections to Hekmatullah being included in a list of 400 Taliban prisoners to be released under a decree from Afghan President Ashraf Ghani.
The Foreign Minister and Defence Minister told Senate Estimates last year they had sought assurances from their US, Afghanistan and Qatar counterparts this man would not be released early.
Throughout this ordeal, the Government’s handling has been marked by a lack of transparency and that has continued with the troubling decision not to disclose news of Hekmatullah’s release publicly.
Authorised by Paul Erickson, ALP, Canberra.