Observing the Australian government’s efforts to protect the life of drug dealers Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran while still suffering from a traffic accident caused by a driver under the influence of alcohol and drugs, I get the impression that Australia is a country for outlaws.
The expected execution of two Australian drug dealers in Indonesia has provoked worldwide debates. Capital punishment has definitely its cons, but why is Australia caring so much? Having lived in Australia for a while, I believe to get the feel. About a year ago I wrote on this blog about a traffic accident in which I was the victim. There are two things that connect to the Chan/Sukumaran story: firstly, the vehemence with which the Australian government tries to avoid the penalization of one of their own citizens in another country while denying the rights of a foreigner in their own country, and secondly, the fact that drug dealer are part of a system that destroys lives of innocent people.
The case of which I have been the victim has still not been solved, even two years after the accident. This due to the fact that according to Australian law a hit-run accident protects the person responsible for the accident and not the victim, even if this person could be identified with the help of witnesses. Apparently a criminal by profession, the lady knows how to avoid court decisions and with the help of a team of judges could delay the long due trial again and again. What is of real concern is the ease with which people can avoid being punished. Alcoholism and drug abuse lead to many tragedies and have very high social costs. Protecting drunk drivers and drug dealers thus becomes in itself a crime, and one might come to believe that Aussies feel genetically connected to criminals if they don’t do more to address the issue. Is it the Ned Kelly effect that makes them see Andrew and Myuran as brothers that deserve their support?
Even if there might be some roots in this, I doubt that it is the main driver. The point is much more that the Australian government has completely corrupt values. Drugs are big business in Australia, while a cyclist doesn’t benefit the local economy – at least not as long as the treasurer doesn’t need to nor understands how to count the costs of carbon emissions. What’s more, the current Australian government has come to believe that they are the centre of development, while they are at the end of the world. When Julie Bishop “offered to work with Indonesia to see if we can find regional solutions to drug trafficking … (and) better education programs, better law enforcement, rehabilitation programs,” then why doesn’t Ms Bishop do it in Australia, where it is most needed? Or does she intend to teach Indonesians how to smuggle narcotics due to the heavy demand in Australia and the country’s isolation from the rest of the world?
In any case, it is the best proof that the Australian government sets the wrong priorities. Development is most needed down-under and when Ms Bishop threatens Indonesia over its reputation, then I believe that she very much overestimates not only herself, but the whole nation. It’s not Indonesia’s reputation that is at stake, Ms Bishop, it’s yours! Doing drugs is one thing, but doing politics while on drugs is not only legally wrong, but also morally. Yet, seeing that corruption is a standard procedure in Australia and that the drug mafia works directly with the Victorian police, it might also be that drug dealers are simply too important to be taken out of office, that’s why you protect drunk drivers from facing charges and help jailed Aussie drug dealers in Indonesia staying alive.