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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dungfungus dungfungus 10:18 am 06 Mar 15

wildturkeycanoe said :

The beautiful united candlelight vigil by our political leaders today made me sick to my stomach. Two criminals, convicted of their crimes and facing their punishment, pull at the heartstrings of our leaders. [Hurl] There are literally tens to hundreds of thousands of people who deserve their attention so much more than those two losers. Where are the tears for families who have lost their loved ones to drug overdoses and drug related crimes? In typical Australian democratic style, the criminals get all the sympathy and the victims suffer in silence, never seeing justice. Well, I hope they get that justice this time, it’s just unfortunate that it took another country’s laws to do it properly.
To answer the question, for the right crime I’d certainly support introducing the death penalty in the A.C.T. Some scumbags, especially repeat offenders, those who blame their childhood for their inability to comply with the law, any pervert who rapes or takes another persons life, in my opinion should have the hangman’s noose as their final sentence. Of course, guilt beyond any doubt would be a stipulation, but not where lawyers drag it out on “technicalities” and such.
An eye for an eye is fair in my mind. It’d be interesting to see if the crime rate dropped suddenly after it was introduced.

Thank you for saying what had to be said.

gazket gazket 11:44 pm 05 Mar 15

After Chan & Sukumaran are both Asian so they know the rules, live by the sword die by the sword.

curmudgery curmudgery 11:22 pm 05 Mar 15

Being made to wait 10 years before the sentence is carried out is, I think, unkind. The grace period should be ‘a year and a day’ – no more, no less. Everyone knows where they stand, it gives everyone time to do what needs to be done and it has a nice ring to it.

Those two dills in Indonesia should be shot. I can’t go to the funeral – I have to get my hair done.

Hmmm so, too, should Milat, Bryant and quite a few others. Yes, they should be shot too – although in the case of Milat and Bryant we should then wait a month, dig ’em up and shoot ’em again. I can’t go to the funeral – I’ve got rellies coming to stay.

And what rubbish people talk about the death penalty! No-one pretends it’s going to stop stupid people from doing stupid things – they’ll do stupid things regardless of the penalty.

What the death penalty ensures is that that person won’t do those things again – and that’s a good result.

But more particularly, it also says ‘Hey! our society places a very high value on the victim of your crime. We can’t undo what you’ve done but because of it, you will forfeit your place amongst us. THAT’s how much we value your victim.’ And everyone else can reflect and feel somewhat safer.

I think the people who would get most upset about Australia reintroducing the death penalty would be those employed in our now enormous ‘looking-after-the-bad-guy’ industry. The pollies will never put it to a referendum because they already know which way the vote would go.

And before you put fingers to keyboard, ask yourself: ‘Where am I most likely to send some money? the family of the victim, the family of the criminal, or neither.

Shoot ’em. I wouldn’t go to the funeral. And neither would you.

Sourskittles Sourskittles 11:15 pm 05 Mar 15

Right. Because they are Indonesia’s laws, deal with it. That’s basically the vibe you guys are putting out. I have a problem with this view. It’s pretty much privileged cr*p. So if there were rules in say, Saudi Arabia, where if a woman removes her headscarf she could be taken to jail, that’s fine? That’s just the law? I have an issue with people who live in a free country and clearly do not believe it is possible for everybody else to do so, too. Just because they’re laws, doesn’t mean it’s ok. Permanently ending somebody’s life is really hypocritical if you’re going to lock up vigilantes for doing the same thing. Just because you were hired by the government to shoot somebody doesn’t suddenly make you the archangel Gabriel and you are completely absolved of the fact that you just murdered somebody. For money.
You all seem to believe drug smuggling ruins lives and murders people and whatever but it seems to have slipped your minds that people taking and buying drugs do actually have minds of their own, however addled by addiction they may be, yet you’re judging somebody who is probably a user themselves with a completely different outlook because they were importing. Well, maybe you should put that angst towards sex traffickers who rightly deserve it; they actually directly enslave people who don’t have a choice in how their life is lived. And this goes on in our country.

Quit pointing your grubby KFC fingers at two young guys who f-ed up royally and stop pretending you never had a joint in your life. Alcohol is one of the biggest and most harmful drugs and we advertise it on giant billboards and during sports games with kids present. Get over it. Heroin users might need help but they still do have a choice. Anybody who risks their lives for smuggling for money probably didn’t have much of a life worth risking. Have some damn compassion.

wildturkeycanoe wildturkeycanoe 10:09 pm 05 Mar 15

The beautiful united candlelight vigil by our political leaders today made me sick to my stomach. Two criminals, convicted of their crimes and facing their punishment, pull at the heartstrings of our leaders. [Hurl] There are literally tens to hundreds of thousands of people who deserve their attention so much more than those two losers. Where are the tears for families who have lost their loved ones to drug overdoses and drug related crimes? In typical Australian democratic style, the criminals get all the sympathy and the victims suffer in silence, never seeing justice. Well, I hope they get that justice this time, it’s just unfortunate that it took another country’s laws to do it properly.
To answer the question, for the right crime I’d certainly support introducing the death penalty in the A.C.T. Some scumbags, especially repeat offenders, those who blame their childhood for their inability to comply with the law, any pervert who rapes or takes another persons life, in my opinion should have the hangman’s noose as their final sentence. Of course, guilt beyond any doubt would be a stipulation, but not where lawyers drag it out on “technicalities” and such.
An eye for an eye is fair in my mind. It’d be interesting to see if the crime rate dropped suddenly after it was introduced.

astrojax astrojax 8:30 pm 05 Mar 15

dungfungus said :

Madam Cholet said :

There seems to be a lot of discussion about what is thought of the death penalty in relation to these two convicted drug smugglers. The question posed at the top of the post was about what teh ACT thinks about the death penalty. It’s a given that countries have their own laws, but the bigger question in this day and age is whether it is appropriate or not for this crime or at all.

You can point out that ‘they did the crime’ till you are blue in the face. It doesn’t mean that it should continue to be accepted and that anyone, including senior members of any political party should not put persue what they feel to be right.

I do wonder about people who are welded on Liberals sometimes. More Liberal than the Liberals – like old colonials.

Most “old colonials” in Australia were sent here as punishment for their crimes.

so? your point?? or are you simply pointing to the weld join?

Madam Cholet Madam Cholet 7:10 pm 05 Mar 15

Mr Dungfungus, I was really meaning old colonials in the Africa/India sense rather than the Australian sense. The people that time forgot. So entrenched that they created little England in far flung climbs and didn’t realise the world had moved on. Welded on Liberals are like that…time has just left them behind.

Mr Gillespie Mr Gillespie 4:13 pm 05 Mar 15

Smuggle drugs into a country that sentences drug smugglers to death, pay the consequences. I fail to see why our government should have to waste resources trying to rescue people stupid enough to peddle filth overseas.

People are always screaming about how pedophiles should face the hangman while governments continue to ignore these pleas, both sides oppose the death penalty but WHAT ABOUT THEIR ELECTORS??? WELL??

Smeg Smeg 4:08 pm 05 Mar 15

I care more about getting the media to stop putting this story at the top of their agenda than I do about the topic.

Don’t care. Stop shoot them don’t shoot them, I don’t care. But please stop using “Australia” as a collective term. I am yet to talk to anyone who cars about the result.

dungfungus dungfungus 4:00 pm 05 Mar 15

Madam Cholet said :

There seems to be a lot of discussion about what is thought of the death penalty in relation to these two convicted drug smugglers. The question posed at the top of the post was about what teh ACT thinks about the death penalty. It’s a given that countries have their own laws, but the bigger question in this day and age is whether it is appropriate or not for this crime or at all.

You can point out that ‘they did the crime’ till you are blue in the face. It doesn’t mean that it should continue to be accepted and that anyone, including senior members of any political party should not put persue what they feel to be right.

I do wonder about people who are welded on Liberals sometimes. More Liberal than the Liberals – like old colonials.

Most “old colonials” in Australia were sent here as punishment for their crimes.

RDS RDS 3:42 pm 05 Mar 15

I think one of the biggest obstacles to pardoning them would be that it would make Indonesia seem like Australia’s puppet. What Australia says Indonesia does. They do not want that image.

Personally I do not believe they should die. I think that they should deport citizens accused of crimes where their laws are harsher than the country of origin. The reality is that they will be executed.
The thing that bothers me the most is the waiting and the constant public commentary and repeated delays in transporting them from one place to the other. I just hope they do not have to suffer.

I won’t be going to Bali. I never intended to anyway but this cements it.

creative_canberran creative_canberran 3:40 pm 05 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.

You respond to the simplistic emotive arguments by using a simplistic emotive argument.
Human beings do have the right to take another’s life, police are authorised to use deadly force to protect life, soldiers have an immunity. It always a calculation of whether the taking of the life is necessary and outweighs the measures to preserve it.

The only issue is whether their death will serve the interests of Indonesia better than their life? The answer is no. The death penalty does not disease drug traffickers, indeed it is an ineffective deterrent for any crime. Let them live, serving out their lives in jail and their rehabilitation on the other hand serves as a beacon, an asset to the Indonesia justice system and inspiration for other prisoners.

But this isn’t about a rational argument of pros and cons and justice theory for Indonesia, it’s about politics. So Joko will do whatever makes him feel big, even when it not only doesn’t serve his country, but is bad for it.

TwainAndHume TwainAndHume 3:05 pm 05 Mar 15

The death penalty is an ineffective “perfect” punishment (as Bryan Stevenson described it last week) …. it solves nothing and makes a society that resorts to it less …..

fernandof fernandof 3:04 pm 05 Mar 15

Madam Cholet said :

There seems to be a lot of discussion about what is thought of the death penalty in relation to these two convicted drug smugglers. The question posed at the top of the post was about what teh ACT thinks about the death penalty. It’s a given that countries have their own laws, but the bigger question in this day and age is whether it is appropriate or not for this crime or at all.

…yeah, and ACT responded – with about 40ish replies. I think you are reluctant to hear the response which seems to contradict your own opinion, that makes you think the question was not answered.

To give you a helping hand: the overall vibe of ACTs collective thought, if this post is anything to go by, can be summarised with “death penalty, as a concept, could be applied but should be very limited”, typical limits include such crimes as paedophilia, rape and mass-murder. There could even be an acceptance to apply capital punishment for severe drug-related crimes, but only when taken in a broader context of asserting associated criminal activities such as murder and rape which are likely attributed to drug lords.

Madam Cholet said :

You can point out that ‘they did the crime’ till you are blue in the face. It doesn’t mean that it should continue to be accepted and that anyone, including senior members of any political party should not put persue what they feel to be right.

Again, reading through the replies, I get a distinct impression than yours. My understanding of the collective thoughts of those who accept is that the acceptance isn’t because “they did the crime”, rather it’s because “theirs [the drug dealers] isn’t a worthy enough cause to enforce our punishment standard on a foreign country”. BTW, that also happens to be my own opinion: there are many more worthy causes in the world and at home we should concern ourself than this.

Madam Cholet said :

I do wonder about people who are welded on Liberals sometimes. More Liberal than the Liberals – like old colonials.

Misc. drivel ignored.

Madam Cholet Madam Cholet 1:54 pm 05 Mar 15

There seems to be a lot of discussion about what is thought of the death penalty in relation to these two convicted drug smugglers. The question posed at the top of the post was about what teh ACT thinks about the death penalty. It’s a given that countries have their own laws, but the bigger question in this day and age is whether it is appropriate or not for this crime or at all.

You can point out that ‘they did the crime’ till you are blue in the face. It doesn’t mean that it should continue to be accepted and that anyone, including senior members of any political party should not put persue what they feel to be right.

I do wonder about people who are welded on Liberals sometimes. More Liberal than the Liberals – like old colonials.

dungfungus dungfungus 11:04 am 05 Mar 15

Rollersk8r said :

Firstly I don’t think it matters what we think – it’s not going to change the outcome of this case.

Secondly, since you asked, I absolutely believe in the death penalty for cowards like the Bali and Boston bombers. I’ve read elsewhere that your personal stance on the death penalty must black and white, yes or no, regardless of the crime. I disagree!! I believe in the death penalty for some crimes and not others.

And finally, so much media attention has focussed on these two being such nice guys. I understand the emotive side of it – but I can’t recall any other case where major criminals have been portrayed as just nice, young, promising men who made a mistake. What if they weren’t caught? Where would they be now?

“….so much media attention…”
That’s the operative phrase.
Very disappointed to see senior coalition members get so emotionally involved in this latest media beat up.
I supposed they will be damned if they don”t but at the same time they can be seen by some to be giving tacit support to drug dealers.
Why the media has decided that the plight of a couple of drug criminals should command so much public interest is beyond me.
Why doesn’t the media give us a story about the plight of millions of European home owners who have been caught by the low interest Swiss Franc loan scam?
This threatens to start GFC2.

Rollersk8r Rollersk8r 9:42 am 05 Mar 15

Firstly I don’t think it matters what we think – it’s not going to change the outcome of this case.

Secondly, since you asked, I absolutely believe in the death penalty for cowards like the Bali and Boston bombers. I’ve read elsewhere that your personal stance on the death penalty must black and white, yes or no, regardless of the crime. I disagree!! I believe in the death penalty for some crimes and not others.

And finally, so much media attention has focussed on these two being such nice guys. I understand the emotive side of it – but I can’t recall any other case where major criminals have been portrayed as just nice, young, promising men who made a mistake. What if they weren’t caught? Where would they be now?

dungfungus dungfungus 9:28 am 05 Mar 15

John Hargreaves said :

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.

So now the ethos is “live and let live”?
Unfortunately, the Western world isn’t going to survive if we subscribe to this.

watto23 watto23 9:10 am 05 Mar 15

TFarquahar said :

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.

+1 Completely agree.
I’m against capital punishment. We don’t have it in Australia so I’m happy. But I respect the sovereign right of other countries whether I agree with it or not. Why does the government wait til we have 2 citizens on death row before caring so much? Surely some diplomacy over the years could have resulted in getting rid of the death penalty in return for more aid or other support of some nature. Then again Singapore has the death penalty and its a 1st world country.

Also we focus far to heavily on things that really have minimal effect on our own society. Morally many might disagree on the death penalty, but in the grand scheme of things how does this affect Australia? It doesn’t. He can’t have the moral high ground when there have been so many murders from people on bail, the recent murder in Canberra because of domestic abuse. These things do affect us, far more than a couple of drug traffickers on death row in Indonesia and dare I say it far more than the overblown political hype around terrorism.

dungfungus dungfungus 8:46 am 05 Mar 15

fernandof said :

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.

On reflection I can see your point clearly now – sorry about that.

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