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The Forum > Article Comments > Strengthening official opposition to death penalties > Comments

Strengthening official opposition to death penalties : Comments

By Tony Smith, published 9/9/2005

Tony Smith argues Australia must convey its disapproval to any foreign government that executes criminals.

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Your article is correct in pointing out that the political elite and both major parties are opposed to capital punishment. What a pity they are not supported by the people. As Henry Bolte once said, if you want to become politically popular, put on a good hanging.
Posted by plerdsus, Friday, 9 September 2005 9:09:49 AM
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Its interesting how the "death penalty" is applied in civilised societies - by armed security services - where a terrorist incident occurs.

The latest execution of a Brazilian in the London underground shows how legal niceties can be circumvented by punitive "shoot terrorists as a warning" and "take no prisoners" policies.

British authorities have long had a record of claiming that the "terrorist" may have a bomb trigger or explosives strapped to him. Therefore, on the balance of risks and legal consequences, its better to shoot him.

This extracurricular form of the "death penalty" also occured in Gibralter in 1988 when a plainclothes UK SAS squad effectively ambushed 3 members of the IRA. The Irishment were not armed nor did they carry bombs.

Witnesses reported that once the IRA members were shot and lying on ground they were each despatched with a shot to the head. Later, the closed enquiry in Gibrater absolved the SAS of any responsibility.

While I think the move towards stronger security laws is valid it shouldn't provide any impetus to this UK style of "death penalty" being applied here.
Posted by plantagenet, Friday, 9 September 2005 11:42:52 AM
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I can't even begin with this article: I just disagree with it on so many levels.

First, I am in favour of the death penalty. The authorsí sneering assumption that civilised people must be pathologically opposed to its application is simply insulting.

Second, and more important, I am of the view that it is not the business of Australia to intervene in the correctional affairs of allegedly less advanced, death penalty jurisdictions.

If an Australian decides to commit a crime in such barbaric political entities, it is their problem, not the nationís. So long as the trial is fair, the penalty must be the decision of the host country.

I smelt a repellant, neo-colonialist attitude being aired in the original article. The white manís burden is a far more archaic notion than that of capital punishment
Posted by BotanyWhig, Saturday, 10 September 2005 12:04:56 AM
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Tony Smith might find it confronting that we live in a democracy. At one time it used to be 'government of the people, by the people etc'. If a majority of the people are in favour of the law of talion so be it.

It may be possible to convince the people that the law of talion is barbaric if the people can be assured that longer prison terms will be applied to savage and vicious crimes. For instance, the only time that a human has any contact with the killers of nurse Anita Cobby is the time when a mortician's van travels to the prison to collect the bodies of these terrible creatures at the time of their deaths. And that should be when they die in prison at whatever age (60, 65 or so). They should never be released.
Posted by Sage, Saturday, 10 September 2005 11:13:02 AM
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How about getting your noisy anti everything friends to push for a referendum on the death penalty, Tony? If we could stop Catholics and Artz graduates from voting against the motion, the reintroduction of the death penalty might well be carried by the first unanimous vote in Australian history.
Posted by redneck, Saturday, 10 September 2005 10:03:52 PM
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I encourage all to reflect on this basic principle of liberty: it is self-evident that whatever rights or powers citizens give their rulers will, at some time, be used to win popularity stakes at the expense of individuals - guilty or innocent. Once the state has the legal power to kill, abuses will follow. They always have, they always will.
Posted by vynnie, Sunday, 11 September 2005 4:12:14 PM
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