elegant resolution to the law-and-order auction
six months out from the next NSW state election and already theres
frenzied bidding in the law-and-order auction. Peter whats-his-name,
the Liberal leader, is bidding 200 Men-of-Middle-Eastern-Appearance
(MoMEA) rounded up instantly on any old charge and bugger the question
of guilt, or evidence. The Labor incumbents will top this for sure.
I cant see Morris Iemma throwing in less than 400 MoMEA in orange
jumpsuits and leg irons.
whole law-n-order dabate has exposed an ugly
fault-line in the national consensus. To hear the shock-jocks and
the Murdoch press tell it, around half of all Australians believe
adults should be entirely personally responsible for their actions
whatever the circumstances and that the police, the government and
radio personalities know for certain, and by instinct, if the accused
to the shock-jocks, right-thinking folks realise that allowing judges
to exercise discretion as to whether some circumstances warrant mitigation
factors such as previous good character or diminished responsibility
or the degree of harm demonstrably caused by an offence is
an invitation to mollycoddle criminals and other, generally un-Australian,
half of the population who doubt this obvious truth are lawyers, dope-smokers,
teachers, doctors wives, judges, ageing hippies, poofters, trade
unionists, Muslim terrorists, greenies, university lecturers, Trotskyites
and intellectual throwbacks yearning for the nanny state.
debate has been going on for some time now with no sign
of consensus. The gulf is widening and the whole matter is becoming
a dangerous distraction from The War Against Terror.
time has come for an elegant resolution, and Id like, with the
Aussie authority only a marsupial can command, to propose one. Its
time we made the justice process and the penalties applied by the
law the responsible choice of the individual.
application of this principal would be simple. Our efficient federal
bureaucracy should take no longer than six months to register every
adult Australians choice of two categories: Standard Citizen
(SC) or a Full Personal Responsibility Citizen (FPRC). Thereafter,
all young people, on turning 18, will be required to choose which
of these categories applied to them. The whole scheme could be stitched
up before the federal elections.
is how it would work:
will retain the right to legal representation and to have their penalty,
should they be found guilty, decided by the judge. In the case of
an alleged offence committed overseas they will retain the right (admittedly
highly theoretical, in view of the David Hicks and Bali drugs cases)
to representations on their behalf by the Australian Government.
Personal Responsibility Citizens, should they be apprehended
for any civil or criminal offence, will forego any right to legal
representation and, in the event they are found guilty will automatically
draw the maximum applicable penalty. If they are arrested overseas
they waive their right to representations on their behalf by the Australian
advantage to the nation accruing from the choice made by FPRCs should
be recognised by removing from their tax equation an amount proportional
to government expenditure on maintenance of the judicial system. If,
however, they are found guilty of an offence, all trial and gaol costs
will be automatically be taken from their estate, or from any remuneration
for employment subsequent to the penalty.
it would be unfair for individuals to have their initial choice set
for the rest of their lives, so reasonable allowance should be made
for any change of heart. I propose that individuals should, after
giving three years notice, be able to change their registered
status. In the case of a change from FPRC to SC, the law should apply
harsh additional penalties if it is shown in the courts that the change
was made with the object of avoiding the maximum penalty for an offence
already committed but not apprehended by the authorities.
matter of principle, the personal choice of each individual must be
open to public scrutiny. Every Australian will have their status registered
in an online database. All will be identified by their full name,
date of birth, current address, drivers licence number and so
on. Also recorded will be any public offices held, and a description
of current occupation (for example talk-back radio personality,
media proprietor, property developer, or member
be most interesting to see how much support my solution gets from
all those right-thinking, flag-waving politicians who are always loud
in their condemnation of wrongdoers, rag-heads and tricky judges.
Since, ipso facto, theyre committed to taking complete
responsibility for their actions, theyll surely have no hesitation
in legislating my scheme and immediately registering as Full Personal
of choice. Its the wave of the future.