By Stephen Mayne

These Amnesty International statistics cited by Lonely Planet founder Tony Wheeler in Crikey last week are pretty startling:

1. USA: 300 million people/60 executions per year = 20 per 100 million
2. Vietnam: 80 million people/60 executions per year = 75 per 100 million people
3. Iran: 70 million people/160 executions per year = 230 per 100 million people
4. China: 1.3 billion people – 3,500 executions per year = 270 per 100 million
5. Saudi Arabia: 25 million people/80 executions per year = 320 per 100 million
6. Singapore: 4 million people/30 executions per year = 750 per 100 million people

Combine that with some information a current Singapore resident passed through last week that several high profile government-connected young people have managed to slip through the drugs net when caught in possession, and it got me thinking about how the Singapore Government could be persuaded not to execute Australian citizen and heroin trafficker Van Tuong Nguyen.

With every legal and government avenue seemingly expired, isn’t there a more obvious tactic – boycott the Singapore Government’s huge commercial interests in Australia.

After 12 years, I dumped Optus yesterday when buying a Blackberry from the local Telstra shop. The Optus rep tried the standard “we’ll match any offer,” but he was speechless when I said the move was a political protest against Singapore’s status as the world’s most prolific executioners in per capita terms.

He then tried to say that Optus was separate from the Singapore Government. Not true buddy, the government owns 62.7%.

Other potential targets for a consumer boycott include hotels (the ANA in Sydney and the Park Hyatt in Melbourne), apartments (Australand), flights (Singapore Airlines), shopping (the Queen Victoria Building in Sydney) and the Singapore Government’s vast energy sector interests in Australia.

If state governments really wanted to flex their muscles, they simply need to declare that the execution of Van Tuong Nguyen would see Australand banned from winning any more state government contracts. After all, the Singapore Government is currently building the Commonwealth Games village for the Bracks Government.

But don’t hold your breath for the commercial media to get behind such a campaign given the huge advertising budget of Optus and the fact that it’s not an attractive white female such as Schapelle Corby facing the gallows in Singapore.