The Abbott government will recall Australia’s ambassador to Indonesia Paul Grigson following the executions of Bali Nine drug smugglers Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran on Wednesday.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott described the executions as ‘cruel and unnecessary’.
The Bali Nine ring leaders were among eight foreign nationals shot dead by firing squad on the island of Nusakambangan.
‘We deplore what’s been done and this cannot be simply business as usual,’ he told reporters in Canberra on Wednesday.
Mr Abbott said Australia’s reaction could not be ‘simply business as usual’.
‘For that reason … our ambassador will be withdrawn for consultations.’
Mr Abbott said Mr Grigson would be withdrawn once arrangements for the Chan and Sukumaran families had been sorted.
The prime minister acknowledged it was ‘unusual, indeed unprecedented’ for Australia to withdraw an ambassador, but the government thought it was necessary.
‘Whatever people think of the death penalty, whatever people think of drug crime, the fact is that these two families have suffered an appalling tragedy,’ he said.
‘As a parent, as a family member myself, I feel for these families at what is a very, very difficult time.’
Execution ‘an act of desperate men’
The execution of Andrew Chan and Myruan Sukumaran was the act of desperate men clinging to power, the pair’s Australian lawyer says.
Peter Morrissey says the pair’s death is a powerful statement about how the Indonesian government sees the law.
‘An executive government like this, with desperate men whose political careers are failing through weakness, who are prepared to trash the legal system as they have and right over the top of it and treat it with contempt, then they’re making a powerful statement how the current government sees the law,’ Mr Morrissey told the ABC on Wednesday.
‘It’s a triumph of power over rationality and over the slow processes of the law.’
Australian National University Indonesia expert Greg Fealy flagged Australia’s diplomatic response could involve potentially withdrawing some aid.
‘That may well go down not very well at all in Indonesia,’ he told ABC TV, adding it is likely the move could escalate diplomatic tensions.
Mr Morrissey said he didn’t want to see aid cut to Indonesia as a result of the executions.
‘We don’t want revenge,’ he told the Nine Network.
‘We are not looking to see punitive measures … we don’t want to see the workers or poor people in Indonesia suffer because Australia has to make a gesture.
‘We are not looking to see cuts in aid or that sort of thing. That is not what Myuran and Andrew were about.’
Send Indonesian aid to Nepal: Robertson
Human rights lawyer Geoffrey Robertson says aid meant for Indonesia should be sent to Nepal after the executions of Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan.
Mr Robertson attended a Sydney vigil for the pair, who were executed along with six others early on Wednesday morning.
‘One suggestion that’s been made is that a swathe of Indonesian aid should go to Nepal instead, because Nepal rather needs it and because it will demonstrate to Indonesia that we are not satisfied by this breach of international law,’ Mr Robertson told the ABC.