Plebiscite Regarding the Return of Capital Punishment to the Commonwealth of Australia

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It was 1967, Victoria, when the last execution took place in Australia. Now fifty years later, our nation has abolished the use of capital punishment, prohibited individual state governments from reintroducing it, and let heinous crimes take place without prevention.

In fifty years, we have seen so much advancement, heard so many voices, and watched the generations change. Humans have adapted to so many new things: technology, communication, cultures. Yet the federal government still believes that in all this time, the death penalty is not applicable. That men like Arthur Alliband, a convicted rapist, should be allowed to walk free after a small prison sentence and ruin the life of yet another young Australian girl.

In March 2016, Arthur was released after 18 months from a 31 month sentence on parole. According to NSW Corrective Services, sentences less than 3 years do not require prisoners to be assessed and approved by the State Parole Authority. This is what allowed Arthur to walk free, and mere hours later after his release, sexually assault a 16 year old girl in Sydney on his way home from jail.

That such a person, who was previously convicted with two counts of sexual assault on an underage girl, should be allowed to walk free is a clear failure of our justice system, and proves the inadequacy of current sentences for sex offenders. Fifty years ago, parents could rest easy while their sons and daughters walked to a friends house, or caught the train home. Fifty years later, this is not so, and still courts are forced to abide by out-of-date laws, preventing the death penalty from being given to rapists, murders, and terrorsits.

The United Nations has worked hard to push for a world where capital punishment is erradicated, believing that due to possible mis-sentencing and the questioable nature of taking a human, it has no place in modern society. An argument of morality is hypocritical however, when by not executing men like Arthur Alliband, the legal systems lets not only one Australian daughter be abused, but two. When did sexual assault, of a child warrant a mere 31 months? When did a repeated offence, with another child warrant only a maximum of 54 months? That is the sentence that the judge passed on, wishing Arthur the best with his treatment.

A poll in 2015 showed that 52.5 percent of a small majority of Australians believed that capital punishment should be reintroduced. The federal government, and even past Prime Ministers have shared this conflicting belief that the death penalty is applicable in some circumstances. Tony Abbott said that some crimes really make you question whether rehabilitation is possible, or even deserved, and if execution is perhaps the best avenue. John Howard, made a statement that if the Indonesian law stated that the Bali bombers should face death, than that law should be respected, but it was under his administration that over 100 members of parliament wrote to the Indonesian government to spare the lives of the two Bali Nine leaders that were sentenced to death. Barnaby Joyce also made news when suggesting that capital punishment should be discussed once again for Australia's future.

With an indecisive government, and an Australian majority in favour of it's reintroduction, it is time for a compulsory national plebiscite to take place. This will allow the Australia public to be heard in their need for a reviewal of the capital punishment laws, and allow disgusting criminals like Arthur Alliband face the punishment that they clearly deserve.


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