Crown staff unlikely to be sent home after treaty was dumped

Turnbull tries to ratify China treaty
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull attempts to ratify China extradition treaty.

The fate of the three Australian casino Crown staff detained in Shanghai is looking bleak after the China-Australian extradition treaty was abandoned.

Sources have revealed the conditions and treatment of the three employees in China will be impacted as the attempt to ratify the treaty failed.

The treaty, which would extradite Chinese nationals and get Australian citizens sent home, was signed by the Howard Government in 2007 and has remained dormant for the past decade.

It was reignited by the Turnbull government on Monday, but by Tuesday morning it was thrown out.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull strongly backed the treaty, sending a public message to Labor and the Greens that it “needs to be ratified”.

But it has been reported the Prime Minister called Labor Leader Bill Shorten, who was against the treaty suggesting the Chinese legal system needs to evolve, on Tuesday morning to tell him the treaty resolution has been pulled.

It was more than likely going to be an embarrassing defeat when it came to a head on Wednesday after the Greens, Senator Pauline Hanson and Senator Nick Xenophon publicly opposed it.

The treaty would have allowed the Australians to be sent home but now there will be serious consequences for the Crown staff who have been in jail since they were arrested in October last year.

A Coalition MP confirmed on Monday any Australian in custody in China, where the death penalty is legal, would be affected if the treaty was rejected.

A senior Labor source added they had been told by Chinese officials that it would also affect how the detained Australians would be treated.

A senior government source said “all we want is to bring arrested Aussies home.”

“It’s a similar agreement we have with 30 odd countries that have worse legal systems than China’s,” they said.

Trade Minister Steve Ciobo said those against the treaty didn’t have a solid argument and also noted it will impact the Australian citizens who allegedly violated strict anti-gambling promotion laws.

‘There are safeguards in place, it’s judiciary reviewable…Not every country is going to have a legal system as solid and sound as ours,’ Mr Ciobo said.

Deputy Prime Minister, Barnaby Joyce, and Foreign Minister, Julie Bishop, voiced their support for the treaty before it was abandoned.

Crown employee Jason O’Connor is one of the three Australians being held in a Chinese detention centre and is among the 17 staff awaiting a trial which could be more than a year away.

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