What does the ACT think about the death penalty?

Steven Bailey 19 April 2016 70
stock-prison-jail-criminal

Inside my backyard shed are two signs that my fiancée and I recently made. The signs read, “Indonesia, we love you but please tell your Government to stop killing Australian citizens”.

Over the past month or so, I have spoken on various radio stations and contributed to numerous public forums against the state sanctioned killing of Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan.

My spirits have been buoyed by the great diversity of Australians from all political persuasions who have sung with one voice against the Indonesian Government killing Australian citizens.

On the ABC’s Q&A, Alan Jones lashed out at the Australian Federal Police for ostensibly facilitating the proposed murder of the Australian citizens by the Indonesian authorities.

In the Parliament of Australia we have heard impassioned and eloquent pleas for mercy from the Minister, and Shadow Minister, for Foreign Affairs. And Malcolm Turnbull has appealed to Indonesia’s leadership, arguing that granting mercy is a sign of political strength rather than political weakness.

I am proud that the leader of my political party Fiona Patten has championed a powerful civil liberties message opposing the executions. The Australian Sex Party’s #BoycottBali campaign has empowered Australian citizens to act with a collective conscience by choosing to holiday in destinations that respect the most basic civil liberty of all – the right to live.

Yet in light of overwhelming public support for the lives of Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan, I have been confronted by those with opposing views. I always welcome robust debate and I respect those who engage in the contest of ideas. Although, on a personal note, I have been surprised by the vehemence with which some have supported the state sanctioned murder of these two human beings.

As we all know, sometimes heartless minorities are more vocal than humane majorities but now, more so than ever, I am wondering to what extent the Australian public supports or rejects the death penalty.

The sanctity of Indonesia’s sovereignty has been used as an excuse to allow the murders to go ahead without objection. It’s unfortunate that such a lazy philosophical and ethical position could seriously be put forth in the 21st century. A position such as this can only serve to hinder the progressive moral development of humankind. The civil liberties of all humans on earth should be inherently immune to the egoism and constructs of statehood.

Two people have been locked up for ten years and are about to be dragged into the jungle and shot.

Grandparents, mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters have agonised for years only to contemplate the seemingly inevitable brutal murder of their loved ones.

To make a human being wait ten years for death instead of freedom is a vicious, cruel, and evil form of punishment.

It is patently clear that killing people and imposing exceedingly punitive measures on human beings who make stupid mistakes out of desperation in their youth does not stop the scourge of unregulated drugs. That states continue the failed war on drugs is a moral blight on our humanity.

That any person would advocate state sanctioned killings 43 years after Whitlam’s Death Penalty Abolition Act is an extreme moral regression that could only be championed by someone whose place in humanity is retarded by a selfish ethical depravity and a misconception of the role a state should play in the lives of human beings.

I fear that if Indonesia goes ahead with killing of Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan, it will be difficult for an Australian Government to convince the public to give aid to our neighbour. That thousands or hundreds of thousands of innocent people could suffer because of a diminished will to afford aid in Indonesia’s hours of need would be the greatest tragedy of all.


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70 Responses to What does the ACT think about the death penalty?
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TFarquahar TFarquahar 6:00 am 05 Mar 15

Weatherman said :

The Department of Foreign Affairs is constantly warning people about the dangers of not knowing the laws overseas. Not only that, but they have had to express dismay at having to deal with many issues that are based on people travelling to countries without knowing the local laws and customs, as well as ethics and morals.

Having travelled extensively in SE Asia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, Singapore and so forth, at every airport in all of these countries are clear signs in the arrival halls. Written in english. Many with skull and cross bones symbols that say “Drug Trafficking Carries The Death Penalty in this Country”. Weatherman you are right. DFAT warns people all the time, the countries themselves warn people all the time. Greed overcomes commonsense. People die. All of this handwringing and emotion about 2 convicted criminals who knowingly committed a crime in Indonesia that they knew carried the death penalty. Do they deserve to die by our rules or even my set of morals? No. But under Indonesian law – Yes. I note the complete lack of conversation wbout the other people who will be executed at the same time. What makes Sukaraman and Chan special compared to them? How will their deaths be any different to the recent death of an Australian citizen in the Middle East killed whilst fighting worth the Kurds against ISIS? He took a risk and lost. Our two intrepid Aussie travellers also took a risk and lost. I am preparing buckets at home to catch my vomitus when, no doubt, post execution the vigils and homilies will start about Saint Sukaraman and Saint Chan. Meanwhile around the world innocent children and people are being murdered for their religion, their sexuality and sometimes just for kicks. Not a word is spoken in defence of these people.

Pathetic.

chewy14 chewy14 12:02 pm 04 Mar 15

astrojax said :

VYBerlinaV8_is_back said :

Heavs said :

100% opposed to the death penalty. But their country, their rules.

+1.

Says it all.

yes, like ‘i’m not a racist, but…’ says much.

i’m somewhat appalled at the flippancy and inhumanity exhibited in most of these responses with the dusting under the carpet of ‘oh but they knew the rules’… do rioters no longer read? the op was specifically discussing whether it is moral for these rules to exist in the first place.

it is an abhorrent practice to deliberately take another’s life, more so for a state to sanction this practice.

We read fine, we simply disagree.

The point is that those are the current laws in Indonesia whether we like it or not.

These two men knew those laws, they weighed up a large financial gain to themselves, rolled the dice and lost. And it should be noted that the financial gain they hoped to receive is much larger than it would otherwise be due to the existence of those laws.

I can disagree with Indonesia’s current laws whilst still agreeing with their enforcement when they are broken. It’s what the rule of law is about, you don’t get to pick and choose which laws you obey by whether you like them or not.

fernandof fernandof 11:37 am 04 Mar 15

dungfungus said :

fernandof said :

dungfungus said :

fernandof said :

dungfungus said :

Where do all the hand-wringers stand on this one?:
https://au.finance.yahoo.com/news/china-executes-mining-tycoon-050322636.html

Look, if the punishment really was for leading an organised crime gang, and hence the punishment is for multiple accounts of murder, rape, enslavement, etc. – then I’d say the punishment is apt. The issue is that politics and what should be irrelevant interests played a major role in the trial, so I’m not at all comfortable with that whole incident.

The quantities of heroin they were attempting to smuggle were not insignificant. The punishment, under Indonesia’s penal code, fits the crime.

Are you sure your response was intended for me? I just can’t see the relevance of it to what I wrote.

You did cite relativity of what was apt punishment for a crime did you not?
Not only was the quantity of heroin significant but the attempt to smuggle it was highly organised by the two about to be executed.

dungfungus, I’m responding to the article you’ve linked re the execution in China, not the drug dealers in Indonesia.

dungfungus dungfungus 11:14 am 04 Mar 15

fernandof said :

dungfungus said :

fernandof said :

dungfungus said :

Where do all the hand-wringers stand on this one?:
https://au.finance.yahoo.com/news/china-executes-mining-tycoon-050322636.html

Look, if the punishment really was for leading an organised crime gang, and hence the punishment is for multiple accounts of murder, rape, enslavement, etc. – then I’d say the punishment is apt. The issue is that politics and what should be irrelevant interests played a major role in the trial, so I’m not at all comfortable with that whole incident.

The quantities of heroin they were attempting to smuggle were not insignificant. The punishment, under Indonesia’s penal code, fits the crime.

Are you sure your response was intended for me? I just can’t see the relevance of it to what I wrote.

You did cite relativity of what was apt punishment for a crime did you not?
Not only was the quantity of heroin significant but the attempt to smuggle it was highly organised by the two about to be executed.

John Hargreaves John Hargreaves 10:53 am 04 Mar 15

dungfungus said :

John Hargreaves said :

No human being has the right to take the life of another. The emotive arguments about an eye for an eye don’t wash with me. There are many heinous crimes for which the harshest punishment is warranted but death is not one of them.

I feel for the relatives of those about to die, the members of the firing squad and the two themselves. I grieve for them as I do for the victims of their heinous crimes.

The difference between a civilised word and that of a barbaric one is that we can think more clearly now and understand a bit more clearly of the responsibility we carry for “lives”.

One this particular one too, where is the mercy that only humans can express? Where is the acknowledgment by these two that they have done horrible things and have tried so hard to make amends?

And also, what part of role models to be exploited to stop others from this trade is a bad idea?

It’s hard to believe you were once a soldier, John.
When I was being trained in the army it was “kill or be killed”.

Yeah, me too. but then I was 20 years old and had a different view on life then.

fernandof fernandof 10:42 am 04 Mar 15

dungfungus said :

fernandof said :

dungfungus said :

Where do all the hand-wringers stand on this one?:
https://au.finance.yahoo.com/news/china-executes-mining-tycoon-050322636.html

Look, if the punishment really was for leading an organised crime gang, and hence the punishment is for multiple accounts of murder, rape, enslavement, etc. – then I’d say the punishment is apt. The issue is that politics and what should be irrelevant interests played a major role in the trial, so I’m not at all comfortable with that whole incident.

The quantities of heroin they were attempting to smuggle were not insignificant. The punishment, under Indonesia’s penal code, fits the crime.

Are you sure your response was intended for me? I just can’t see the relevance of it to what I wrote.

dungfungus dungfungus 10:23 am 04 Mar 15

neanderthalsis said :

We often bang on about the sentences being handed out by our justice system as being out of line with community expectations here in Australia. The majority of Indonesians support the death penalty and there is a community expectation that it will apply to a number of crimes, including drug trafficking. What right do we have to dictate their community standards?

Much of the handwringing on this is either in the media or amongst the latte sippers in the Magic Monkey Cafe of inner-city Nirvannaville. Once you get out of Canberra and the inner burbs of other capitals, the average Australian either is totally indifferent or takes the line of “their country, their rules”.

This was clearly evident at a BBQ with family and friends in the outer west of Brisbane last weekend. My unofficial survey sample was 30 odd ordinary, predominantly Labor, voters (some very ordinary…) working class, generally non-tertiary educated, the type that actually go on holidays to Bali. Essentially a group that you would find in any backyard BBQ in the outer burbs.

The real question is why, if the death penalty applies to these two, did it not also apply to the ringleaders and masterminds of the Bali bombings.

“The real question is why, if the death penalty applies to these two, did it not also apply to the ringleaders and masterminds of the Bali bombings.”
If you ever find out, please share the revelation with me.

neanderthalsis neanderthalsis 9:28 am 04 Mar 15

We often bang on about the sentences being handed out by our justice system as being out of line with community expectations here in Australia. The majority of Indonesians support the death penalty and there is a community expectation that it will apply to a number of crimes, including drug trafficking. What right do we have to dictate their community standards?

Much of the handwringing on this is either in the media or amongst the latte sippers in the Magic Monkey Cafe of inner-city Nirvannaville. Once you get out of Canberra and the inner burbs of other capitals, the average Australian either is totally indifferent or takes the line of “their country, their rules”. This was clearly evident at a BBQ with family and friends in the outer west of Brisbane last weekend. My unofficial survey sample was 30 odd ordinary, predominantly Labor, voters (some very ordinary…) working class, generally non-tertiary educated, the type that actually go on holidays to Bali. Essentially a group that you would find in any backyard BBQ in the outer burbs.

The real question is why, if the death penalty applies to these two, did it not also apply to the ringleaders and masterminds of the Bali bombings.

dungfungus dungfungus 8:37 am 04 Mar 15

Hamlet201 said :

I read an article recently in a uk newspaper about some embassy worker and/or diplomat being sacked for having an affair with one of the inmates in a Bali prison. The point is that according to the article that particular inmate was known as Mr. Big in Bali and was a serious so called drug lord. The article states among other things that he is only doing 6 years – he also has his own private chef from the prison and mobile phone etc but there’s no talk of a death penalty. I seriously don’t get it, why? and what’s the difference – why are they heart set on killing these 2 guys but not him?

Don’t believe everything you read in The Guardian.

astrojax astrojax 6:56 am 04 Mar 15

VYBerlinaV8_is_back said :

Heavs said :

100% opposed to the death penalty. But their country, their rules.

+1.

Says it all.

yes, like ‘i’m not a racist, but…’ says much.

i’m somewhat appalled at the flippancy and inhumanity exhibited in most of these responses with the dusting under the carpet of ‘oh but they knew the rules’… do rioters no longer read? the op was specifically discussing whether it is moral for these rules to exist in the first place.

it is an abhorrent practice to deliberately take another’s life, more so for a state to sanction this practice.

farnarkler farnarkler 11:15 pm 03 Mar 15

Not wanting to focus on the two obvious current cases, IMHO if an individual commits a crime in a country which has the death penalty for that crime then bad luck for the individual. Places like Changi airport (and I imagine Bali) have ample warnings about drug trafficking and the punishment of death.

In Australia, I wouldn’t bat an eyelid if Ivan Milat and Martin Bryant were shot multiple times in the head. Would you?

dungfungus dungfungus 8:21 pm 03 Mar 15

fernandof said :

dungfungus said :

Where do all the hand-wringers stand on this one?:
https://au.finance.yahoo.com/news/china-executes-mining-tycoon-050322636.html

Look, if the punishment really was for leading an organised crime gang, and hence the punishment is for multiple accounts of murder, rape, enslavement, etc. – then I’d say the punishment is apt. The issue is that politics and what should be irrelevant interests played a major role in the trial, so I’m not at all comfortable with that whole incident.

The quantities of heroin they were attempting to smuggle were not insignificant. The punishment, under Indonesia’s penal code, fits the crime.

Mysteryman Mysteryman 6:16 pm 03 Mar 15

Their country, their rules. If the Indonesian people want their laws changed, they will lobby their government. I don’t think we have to right to tell them what laws they should or shouldn’t have simply because some of us think we’ve reached some higher stage of social enlightenment. I understand the feeling of resentment from Indonesians regarding the sense of cultural and social superiority Australians display towards them.

Hamlet201 Hamlet201 5:09 pm 03 Mar 15

I read an article recently in a uk newspaper about some embassy worker and/or diplomat being sacked for having an affair with one of the inmates in a Bali prison. The point is that according to the article that particular inmate was known as Mr. Big in Bali and was a serious so called drug lord. The article states among other things that he is only doing 6 years – he also has his own private chef from the prison and mobile phone etc but there’s no talk of a death penalty. I seriously don’t get it, why? and what’s the difference – why are they heart set on killing these 2 guys but not him?

Madam Cholet Madam Cholet 4:56 pm 03 Mar 15

Personally, don’t agree with it and wish it did not happen anywhere. Australia needs to broaden it’s approach and advocate for its removal for anyone, not just for Australians. It’s 2015 and compared to even back when Van Nguyen was executed the world has changed – social media makes tiny minorities into at the very least significant minorities who can use their voice to express a consensus opinion. It may be that they knew the risks, it still does not make it right to execute them.

Those perpetrating crimes such as this never think they will get caught because there are bigger things at stake, of which profit is unfortunately one. And the risk when they are strapping kilos of heroin to their bodies is not real to them. It doesn’t mean they deserve to die. The irony is, if they were apprehended in Sydney they would perhaps have served their sentences or a large part of them and would not be reformed in anyway. As it stands, they have done great things since their arrest. That in my book deserves our compassion.

The death penalty for drug traffickers does nothing to bring down the drug barons who are not bothered in the slightest about two people they never knew losing their lives and this is where Indonesia’s argument falls apart.

chewy14 chewy14 3:51 pm 03 Mar 15

I support legalisation and regulation of drugs.

I’m against the death penalty on principle.

That being said, these men knew the laws of Indonesia and deliberately broke them for their own personal financial gain. They were the ringleaders of this and coerced and threatened other people to traffic heroin. You are right, they shouldn’t have been waiting to be executed for 10 years, they should have been executed long ago, once they were found guilty and had exhausted their legal appeals.

We should be lobbying Indonesia to change its laws but we should do so all the time, not simply every time one of our citizens is found guilty of a crime there and is about to receive their legal punishment.

fernandof fernandof 3:00 pm 03 Mar 15

dungfungus said :

Where do all the hand-wringers stand on this one?:
https://au.finance.yahoo.com/news/china-executes-mining-tycoon-050322636.html

Look, if the punishment really was for leading an organised crime gang, and hence the punishment is for multiple accounts of murder, rape, enslavement, etc. – then I’d say the punishment is apt. The issue is that politics and what should be irrelevant interests played a major role in the trial, so I’m not at all comfortable with that whole incident.

dungfungus dungfungus 2:11 pm 03 Mar 15

John Hargreaves said :

No human being has the right to take the life of another. The emotive arguments about an eye for an eye don’t wash with me. There are many heinous crimes for which the harshest punishment is warranted but death is not one of them.

I feel for the relatives of those about to die, the members of the firing squad and the two themselves. I grieve for them as I do for the victims of their heinous crimes.

The difference between a civilised word and that of a barbaric one is that we can think more clearly now and understand a bit more clearly of the responsibility we carry for “lives”.

One this particular one too, where is the mercy that only humans can express? Where is the acknowledgment by these two that they have done horrible things and have tried so hard to make amends?

And also, what part of role models to be exploited to stop others from this trade is a bad idea?

It’s hard to believe you were once a soldier, John.
When I was being trained in the army it was “kill or be killed”.

dungfungus dungfungus 2:08 pm 03 Mar 15

Where do all the hand-wringers stand on this one?:
https://au.finance.yahoo.com/news/china-executes-mining-tycoon-050322636.html

dungfungus dungfungus 2:04 pm 03 Mar 15

Postalgeek said :

Other people can argue about the sanctity of life, but for me the death penalty cannot be revoked, so unless we have a perfect judicial system devoid of error, it shouldn’t be used. As much as I’d like to see the Bryants and Cowans of this world get a bullet, the imperfection of our justice system convinces me that such penalties cannot be applied.

Otherwise why aren’t all penalties irreversible? Should everyone be required to complete their sentence in full irrespective of whatever evidence may come to light after sentencing? Why don’t we have we have lesser permanent physical penalties such as amputation and blinding? That would certainly help curb violent recidivists.

ISIS have no problem with the lesser permanent physical penalty of head amputation. That curbs re-offending 100%.

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