Floating Life 4/06 ~ 11/07

an archive

Quote of the day

Further to Hypocrisy (revised) yesterday:

Only a very very peculiar mind could interpret McClelland’s remarks as showing sympathy for the Bali bombers, let alone ’supporting’ them.

That is from the entry I mentioned yesterday — The next prime minister on The Road to Surfdom. Ken also says:

Well done Kevin, you’ve managed to turn a minor incident into a major story while simultaneously demonstrating yet again that in the shiny new ALP, expediency trumps principle every time.

I am afraid that is the impression you have been wedged into exhibiting, Kevin. And today, showing her “very very peculiar mind”, The Blessed Miranda fulminates, froths, gloats, and ejaculates as follows:

Kevin Rudd’s repudiation of the campaign by his foreign affairs spokesman to rid South-East Asia of capital punishment rings about as hollow as the campaign itself. The Opposition Leader has “counselled” Robert McClelland over his speech to a human rights group on Monday night, but McClelland was just expressing Labor Party policy, and that policy still stands.

For Rudd, McClelland’s crime was his timing – in that he candidly trumpeted Labor policy before the election, not after.

Of course, the real problem with the timing of McClelland’s speech to the Wentworth Human Rights Forum at the Hotel Bondi was that it came four days before tomorrow’s anniversary of the 2002 Bali bombings that claimed the lives of 88 Australians, many from the beach suburb of Coogee, just up the road from the forum. And it came as an Indonesia court considers the death penalty handed down to three of the Bali bombers.

McClelland told the forum that a Labor government would form a coalition with other like-minded countries in the region to campaign against the death penalty in countries such as Indonesia, China, India, Pakistan, Japan, Malaysia and Singapore. “Labor believes that supporting executions – even by a nation state – gives justification to all kinds of fanatical lunatics to take the lives of others in pursuit of their own warped ideologies.”…

You should have DEFENDED McClelland, Kevin, in a principled if contexually sensitive manner, but you should have defended him strongly. I am very disappointed.

I mentioned Lateline last night:

Today the Government intensified its attack as Robert McClelland said he was wrong to suggest the Bali bombers should not get the death penalty for their crimes.

Lex Lasry QC is a prominent lawyer and human rights advocate. He unsuccessfully defended Van Tuong Nguyen who was executed for drug smuggling in Singapore in 2005. He is now representing two members of the so-called Bali nine, in a challenge to the death penalty in the Indonesian Constitutional Court…

TONY JONES: Who do you think has done the best job over the past few days of expressing a consistent principle of principal on capital punishment, John Howard or Kevin Rudd?

LEX LASRY: I don’t think either of those options is open really. I must say from what I read of Robert McClelland’s speech, he expressed the views that I agreed with and I think it’s shame that it’s been politicised in the way that it has since then.

TONY JONES: It also appears that he is backing off the principle that he espoused in the speech. Does that worry you?

LEX LASRY: Yes, it does, because what’s important in this is to have a consistent policy on the death penalty so far as Australia is concerned. And the concern is that Australia’s international moral authority, if you like, is being compromised because the policy isn’t consistent…

TONY JONES: Do you feel or see this debate shifting in Australia under your feet as it were?

LEX LASRY: No, I think the shame, Tony, is that the debate’s been politicised. There’s a political contest going on and there’s an election coming up. And regrettably, the principles which are at stake so far as capital punishment are concerned are being somewhat lost in the kind of rush that you’re talking about.

It would be a lot better if there was a bipartisan position which supported Australia’s declared position since 1990 when we signed the – and supported and ratified the international covenant on this – that Australia is simply opposed to the death penalty in all cases and in all countries…

Just as Alexander Downer is in print as having said in the past.

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Written by Neil

October 11, 2007 at 8:50 am

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