The Howard and Downer show has begun on the issue of the recently announced death sentences for four more of the Bali Nine. Hand wringing about the death penalty accompanied by further pronouncements on the 'evil' nature of drug smuggling will be served up as in the Van Nguyen case.
It puts me in mind of an earlier blog in December 2005, in which I recounted that "In August 2003, in the wake of the sentencing of convicted Bali bomber Amrozi, the Australian Prime Minister called for a national debate on the re-introduction of the death penalty. Reiterating that he does not personally support the death penalty, Mr Howard suggested that the death penalty “could be raised by state opposition parties as an election issue” (Sydney Morning Herald 9/8/03).
By floating the idea that State Liberal opposition parties use the death penalty as a re-election policy (SMH 9/8/03), Prime Minister Howard signalled a dangerous attack on our civil liberties and the most fundamental of our human rights: the right to life.
It is no wonder that his efforts on Van Nguyen's behalf were half-hearted to say the least. And he has sniffed a further opportunity to develop the wedge by playing his 'zero tolerance on drugs' tune as the main message to be drawn from the Van Nguyen murder. You have to hand it to him - he can sniff a political advantage better than most."
Expect more of the same in this case.