Friday, May 27, 2005
The general situation in Australia, like the rest of the world, continues to deteriorate apace.
The only really useful thing Australia has done on the regional stage is ensure that Schapelle Corby was convicted for drug trafficking. In case you're not following this important case, Corby went into Bali with a boogie board bag full of dope. She was caught and claimed that “the baggage handlers did it” (at least she was inventive).
Then Australia did the following to ensure she was convicted: the government sent a letter to the judges stating that we did, indeed, have drug smuggling baggage handlers; the “backer” for her legal expenses made media statements about prosecution bribery; commercial television had “specials” where they asked celebrities whether she was guilty (most brilliantly a Family Court judge said the trial was the most dreadful breach of justice she’d ever seen); national newspapers ran polls on whether the public thought she was guilty (it was like 99 to 1 she wasn’t); and some law professor announced (wrongly) that in Indonesia you were guilty until proven innocent (although in his defence it was after the chief judge in the case announced to the media she hadn’t proved her innocence – not a good sign you’d agree).
Anyone at all familiar with the Indonesian justice system, judges and Australia/Indonesian relations (not to mention our Americanesque reputation in the region) would have been able to predict the response: guilty of course … although they decided not to kill her which was nice of them I thought.
As usual, internationally we have done nothing of significance at all – which is probably for the best.