Some lives are not worth saving? Australian Government needs to clarify its stance on the death penalty

12 Aug

According to the Reuters report dated 11 August, ‘Australia to ask Indonesia for clemency for death row convicts’, Australian’s Foreign Minister, Stephen Smith, is quoted that the government will plead for clemency for the three Australians (part of the Bali Nine) if ‘all legal processes have been exhausted’. However, it will not make a similar request for the three militant Bali bombers in 2002.

This is the exactly the type of double-standard or double-speak that Asian states (which still practise the death penalty) have been accusing Australia of. During his campaign, Kevin Rudd said he was ‘opposed to the death penalty’ but that the government would only intervene diplomatically ‘in support of Australian nationals who face capital sentences abroad’. He even went so far as saying, “I believe that terrorists should rot in jail for the term of their natural lives, and then one day be removed in a pine box.”

Interpretation: Australian lives are of more value than others. Terrorists deserve the death penalty.

This ambiguous stance is precisely what makes the Rudd government appear hypocritical  when it comes to the death penalty issue.

How will the Rudd government react if an Australian citizen is involved in a ‘terrorist’ act? Will the government allow the individual to be put under the gallows or make an exception because of his or her nationality?

If the Australian government is serious on abolishing the death penalty, it needs to be unequivocal in its stance. Otherwise, it cannot claim to be the leader or a strong critic of capital punishment for its call will sound desperately hollow.

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One Response to “Some lives are not worth saving? Australian Government needs to clarify its stance on the death penalty”

  1. Tim Ramsey August 12, 2008 at 11:40 am #

    I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog.

    Tim Ramsey

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