Monday, November 28

Against hangings, but not if it means missing the game, or losing some money

The Australian Federal Government makes it clear that, while it opposes the death penalty, it's not prepared to miss a cricket game scheduled for the same day as the execution.

Sadly, that's entirely in-line with past governments, which have been against, for instance, human rights abuses in Zimbabwe and South Africa, but not to the point that it should stop our national teams from playing there.

And this is not a major cricket game, just the Prime Minister's XI vs the West Indies, a side that could be comfortably beaten by the federal press gallery after a heavy night on the suds on current form. Sure, the PM is the host of the game, but it's not like Australia's cricketing honour hangs (ick) on the outcome of this game. So no great loss surely for the PM if he postpones or cancels it.

In the past few weeks, we've also seen a general cabinet consensus that economic sanctions against Singapore would achieve nothing, and might risk damaging the Australian economy.

Well, is that such a bad thing? The very same Australian economy the Liberal government is claiming is at an all-time high, entirely due to its own efforts? Couldn't we afford a little pain in the back pocket to make a statement to the Singaporean government?

How much economic pain would the electorate be prepared to take in order to make it clear? How much is one Australian criminal's life worth? A million dollars? Ten million? Come on John Howard, Alexander Downer, put a dollar figure behind it and ask the people whether we're prepared to share a little economic damage.

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