Capital punishment exposes Rudd’s hypocrisy [by Andrew Phillips]

By Andrew Phillips, 20th November 2008

The recent execution of the “Bali Bombers” in Indonesia was met with relief by many in Australia and hysteria by some in Indonesia, mostly supporters of J.I. [Jemaah Islamiyah] who one would think would be celebrating that their religious brothers would now be spending eternity being pampered by a string of celestial virgins (however that works), rather than screaming hysterically and declaring revenge against the enemies of “Allah”.

The Rudd government (in my personal view) correctly supported the execution of these murderers of Australian tourists and local Balinese civilians. However, the position taken by Rudd smacks of populism and blatant hypocrisy.

No sooner had these “Soldiers of Allah” been untied and loaded onto the helicopters for transportation to their villages for burial, Rudd declared that his government would seek an International Moratorium on the practice of capital punishment.

Clearly in Rudd’s mind it’s ok to execute people but, once we’ve got what we want, the “nasty practice” has to stop. Never mind the issue of national sovereignty, we now have to put pressure on other nations to change their legal systems.

The whole position taken by K.Rudd is political opportunism at it’s most blatant. Rudd knows the Australian nation was outraged by the bombings, wanted justice served and to oppose their execution was to invite condemnation from around the nation.

Letters to the editor largely reflected a sentiment that justice was served. Few expressed revulsion at the sentence being carried out. This in itself should tell the government something about the local view of the practice of capital punishment. Around the world, including Australia, there are countless people sitting in gaols (at considerable expense to the taxpayer) who have committed the most heinous acts upon the most innocent or defenceless in our society.

Barely a week goes by when one does not read reports of betrayal by those in a position of trust. Paedophile politicians, children being molested or murdered, defenceless women and girls subjected to rape, the brutal assault of the elderly, gangs roaming the streets pushing drugs, knifing, raping with impunity. A gaol sentence (if it ever gets that far) merely results in increased kudos for the perpetrator amongst his fellow lowlifes.

Members of the public hold a wide range of views and various opinions on this subject, however, most would agree that rather than displaying a dictatorial attitude and pushing for an International Moratorium it would be much better for all concerned if Rudd opened the issue up for debate amongst the Australian constituency. An open, reasoned and public debate — along with government action to respect the public’s final decision (even if it is at odds with party policy) will only improve the society in which we live.

If Rudd continues to deny Australians the right to debate this issue, it can only lead to the question — what, or who, are they trying to hide or protect?