On capital punishment

John Richardson writes: Re. “Crikey says: we must do what we can for Bali Nine” (yesterday). Crikey’s hypocritical bleating about the failure of the Abbott government and Australians generally to “wave the big stick” at Indonesia for having the temerity to uphold its own laws is simply laughable. Crikey suggests that Australians may be reluctant to speak-out on the issue because they aren’t comfortable with the idea of a “first-world” country lecturing a “third-world” country about its behaviour.

Maybe Crikey is right. Perhaps Australians really are capable of recognising what Crikey can’t: that Indonesia is a sovereign nation entitled to make laws to govern the behaviour of people within its own borders; including even Australians? Perhaps Australians can also sense just how quickly and angrily they would react if the shoe was on the other foot? Crikey’s blatant arrogance and conceit in pursuing this nonsense is made all the more unacceptable by the fact that most of those campaigning for the Indonesian government to spare the lives of Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran don’t even pretend to take an interest in the lives of other Indonesian prisoners facing the same grotesque fate.

If Crikey wants to be taken seriously on this issue, why not sponsor a campaign to persuade Indonesia to abandon the death penalty completely and while they are at it, perhaps they could get the US to commute the death penalty on the more than 200 prisoners it has killed in the past five years, including some tortured through botched executions, or the Saudi Arabians for beheading more than 400 prisoners or the Iraqis for the 250 they’ve butchered (after we got through “civilising” them) or the Chinese for executing thousands?

Richard Davoren writes: These executions demonstrate to would-be terrorists that justice can be served through the barrel of a gun. Australia ceased capital punishment in 1967. It is a practice abhorrent to most civilised societies. In the case of the Bali Two, they will be dragged to a remote site and shot like dogs. Their deaths will do nothing to serve justice. Schapelle Corby’s jailing was a constant reminder of the risks associated with drug smuggling. Once executed, these two will ultimately fade from memory and the trade will continue.

This is what Julie Bishop should do to prevent these executions happening. Advise Indonesian authorities that, if the executions take place, Australia will ban Australians travelling to Indonesia for other than official business. This ban will be for an initial period of five years, and will only be lifted after that time if Indonesia assures Australia that our citizens will not be subject to judicial murder in that country. If the cost of keeping Australians in gaol against the cost of bullets is a issue, then Australia could contribute to the cost of keeping the prisoners alive. Seizure of the assets of drug smugglers could be a source of that small funding requirement.

For my part, if these executions take place, I will never visit Indonesia again. I hope my fellow Australian citizens take the same approach. A bit severe perhaps but not as severe as State murder of our citizens.

The real reason for Tasmania’s defamation law backdown

Alison Alexander writes: Re. “Tassie defo laws dumped” (yesterday). Paddy Manning, your work is great but you should have continued reading that Mercury article about why Tassie dumped its proposed defamation laws. The real reason, hidden many paragraphs down, was not because the Libs listened to the electorate (ha ha), but because since in 2005 Tasmania signed an agreement for uniform national defamation laws, the state can’t go it alone.

Peter Fray

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