China’s influence over the Australian Government will be questioned in the Federal Court today.
Chinese-Australia businessman Matthew Ng is challenging strict parole conditions put on him by the Government after his release from jail for fraud and embezzlement.
“Once you’re in Australia, Australian rules apply and they need to be applied in a fair way,” supporter Tom Lennox told AM.
Jailed in China in 2010 for 11 years, Mr Ng was transferred to Australia four years later under a treaty with Beijing.
He served another 18 months before being freed, but has since been subjected to onerous parole conditions, including a cancelled passport, monthly reporting to a parole officer and a requirement to seek permission to travel outside New South Wales.
Ng ‘wants to get on with his life’
Mr Lennox told AM the conditions “are clearly not appropriate for Matthew”.
“He is not a flight risk … he wants to get on with his life,” he said.
He said Mr Ng would not have been convicted in an Australian court with the evidence presented against him in China.
“Yes, one respects the Chinese criminal justice system, yes he was convicted in China,” Mr Lennox said.
Those events and circumstances would not have been a crime under Australian law.”
Mr Ng and Justice Minister Michael Keenan declined to comment on the case because it’s still before the court.
But Pauline Wright, the president of the NSW Law Society, told AM the Government had to be mindful of other Australians being held in overseas jails who could benefit from a transfer treaty.
“They can’t be seen to be just letting people off as soon as they get home on a regular basis because otherwise those treaties just fall over.”
She said the Government needs to consider a range of circumstances in regards to Mr Ng’s case.
“What’s fair and just in an Australian context, but also having regard to what [he] was convicted with overseas,” she said.
By Tom Iggulden