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Editorial Echoes 30/10/2007

October 30th, 2007 at 11:48pm

Editorial Echoes is back, and as a treat (or possibly as a vent for me) there are five issues tackled in this episode, they are:

  • Peter Garrett
  • The Bali Nine’s attempt to get out of the death sentence, and Indonesia’s use of the death penalty on drug smugglers
  • Craig William Wheatley’s sentence over the death of an 83-year old war veteran
  • Sydney’s move to replace glasses with plastic cups in pubs and clubs
  • And a brief look at GetUp.org.au’s advertising campaign urging people to vote against the coalition in the senate.

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You are more than welcome to respond to anything you hear on the show by sending an email to echoes@samuelgordonstewart.com. Emails may be read and responded to on a future episode.

The episode can be played in the MP3 player above or by downloading the MP3 file. You can also subscribe to Editorial Echoes. The RSS Feed can be found at http://samuelgordonstewart.com/wp-content/EditorialEchoes/echoes.xml and you can subscribe through iTunes by clicking here.

The script of the episode follows (it’s long, so it’s not going on the front page of the blog…none of the scripts will).

Samuel

Welcome to Editorial Echoes for October 30, 2007, I’m Samuel Gordon-Stewart.

This is the return of Editorial Echoes, a podcast containing my editorials on the issues of the day. Unlike last time, this won’t be a daily podcast, but it will be very regular. You can also respond to anything you hear on the show by sending an email to echoes@samuelgordonstewart.com, I may then read and reply to your email on a future show.

Today, simply because I have a lot of things on my mind, the show will cover many topics, but most days it will only be one or two topics.

To start off with, Peter Garrett, the mildly annoying ex-rock star who, for one reason or another, seems to be quite hamstrung in the Labor party. Sometimes I feel sorry for Peter, he has so much potential and has been a strong advocate for the environment, but seems to be almost silenced as a shadow minister in the Labor party.

Then, there are other times, like yesterday when he stood next to Kevin Rudd and made an announcement about funding to help farmers stop polluting the Great Barrier Reef. Peter made the rather odd statement that this would help with the reef’s recovery from, quote, “Climate change events”. Perhaps I’m misunderstanding the shadow environment spokesman here, but I thought he had told us on many occasions that climate change would cause the temperature to rise, and the Great Barrier Reef, amongst other things, would be irreperably damaged…and what exactly is a climate change event? Has Mr. Garrett forgotten his own teachings and started believing in the great climate change monster that comes out once per week and shoots a bit of the reef? If so, wouldn’t it be better to spend money on catching the monster rather than unshooting the reef? In the short term at least…

And as for Labor’s peculiar (but somewhat welcome in my view) backflip on international emission agreements…poor old Peter, he should have joined the Greens, at least he would know where he stands with the Greens.

Moving on, and the Bali Nine have attempted and failed to challenge the constitutional ability of Indonesia to use the death penalty on drug smugglers. Technically speaking, the Bali Nine were correct, the constitution of Indonesia seems to only allow for the death penalty to be used on violent offenders.

The Bali Nine, however, were prevented from challenging the constitution on the grounds that they are not citizens of Indonesia. This, whilst a technicality, is brilliant. The Indonesian constitution needs to be ammended quickly to avoid a similar situations occurring with Indonesians, but for the moment, the Indonesian justice system has delivered a fantastic result.

It is my strong view that a justice system should make it appear that justice is being done, and have a think about this:

The Bali Nine were caught smuggling drugs, illegal drugs, potentially deadly illegal drugs, drugs which, if they didn’t kill people, had the power to easily ruin lives. Now, whilst the users of these drugs need to take some responsibility for themselves, it is important to note that these life recking drugs would not be available without the drug smugglers. Drug smugglers are evil low-life scum, they contribute heavily to the misery and suffering of hundreds and thousands of people, and I fully support Indonesia’s policy of giving them the death sentence.

Moving on to another case of “justice should appear to be done”, Craig William Wheatley was sentenced today for the death of an 83 year old war veteran. Mr. Wheatley has been convicted of pushing Robert Narramore in to the path of an oncoming car after having a drunken argument with another person. He was sentenced to a minimum jail term of two years, backdated to when he was taken in to custody. This means Mr. Wheatley could be out in September next year.

The maximum term is three years and nine months, which, if enforced, would see Wheatley released in June 2010.

Mr. Wheatley may not have intended to cause physical harm to Mr. Narramore…but the fact of the matter is he pushed an elderly man in to the path of oncoming traffic, despite the elderly man not having any part of the argument he was having. Forget the fact that Wheatley was drunk for a minute, that shouldn’t have any bearing on it, Wheatley’s actions killed Narramore, and two years is a ridiculous sentence for that.

June 2010 sounds like a good time for a release under a minimum sentence to me, but then again, I can’t see any reason for a difference between minimum and maximum terms on a manslaughter sentence. There was no malice involved, so there is no rehabilitation required. There should be a single sentence, and after reading the details of this case, I think the maximum sentence imposed should be THE sentence.

As an aside, in any case where rehabilitation of the offender is required, there should be a minimum sentence, with an indefinite maximum sentence so that the offender stays in for the minimum term regardless of anything else, and is then released once they have been rehabilitated…repeat offenders could then be given another sentence of the same type, and if that doesn’t help, then there is no room for them here, and the death sentence would be appropriate.

Another alcohol related subject. Sydney is looking at implementing plastic cups to deal with the growing number of “glassings” in pubs caused by incredibly intoxicated people. (And to think that a couple years ago I had never even heard of “glassing”). Admittedly plastic can do much less damage than glass, but it shouldn’t be underestimated…plastic packaging on an electric toothbrush nearly took my finger off last week, and really this measure, whilst helpful, is treating the method rather than the cause. A ban on alcohol would certainly solve the problem of intoxicated people causing trouble, but prohibition has never been palatable, so instead, I think we need a blood alcohol limit for the general population. We already have one for people in control of motor vehicles, so I can’t see any problem with having one for the general population, or at least the general population in public venues.

I don’t know what we would set the limit at…that’s not my area of expertise, that would really be up to a combination of medical and behavioural experts and law enforcement agencies. Enforcement shouldn’t be too hard, either require pubs to employ at least one person who is trained and authorised to run breath tests and kick people out, or get them a taxi home if they exceed the limit, or get the existing age enforcement people to do it. Preferably a combination of both.

People who reach the limit could then be sent home, or if they don’t co-operate, ferried to the nearest police station to sober out. It wouldn’t completely solve the problem of public violence, but it is a well known fact that drunk people contribute excessively to the problem, and placing a reasonable limit on alcohol that balances people’s right to drink responsibly, and everyone’s right to public safety, would go a very very long way toward solving the problem.

And just briefly as this episode has gone on for long enough already, the political activist group GetUp.org.au have launched an advertising campaign on television and radio urging people to vote for anyone other than the coalition in the senate, so as to remove the majority the coalition have there. GetUp claim that this is undemocratic and unfair. I’ll have more to say about this tomorrow, but for now I have this little thought for GetUp.

In order for the coalition to get a majority in the senate, the majority of voters have to vote for the coalition. So, if the majority of people vote for a particular party then, democratically, that party receive a majority. The senate in its current form may be one-sided, but as that’s the side the majority of people voted for, it is hardly undemocratic or unfair.

This has been Editorial Echoes for October 30, 2007, if you have any thoughts or comments about any of this, email them to echoes@samuelgordonstewart.com

And don’t forget the weekly poll on my blog, this week’s question is “If Australia must sign a climate change agreement, would you prefer Kyoto or a new agreement?”

To register your vote, simply visit samuelgordonstewart.com and enter your vote on the right hand side of the page. The votes will be presented at the end of the week.

I’m Samuel Gordon-Stewart, until next time, tada.

Entry Filed under: Editorial Echoes,Global Warming

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