Prime Minister Tony Abbott has left open the possibility of Australia withdrawing its ambassador to Indonesia if the country goes ahead with its planned execution of two Bali nine members.
Mr Abbott today said he had lobbied Indonesian President Joko Widodo on behalf of the men, Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan, Fairfax Media reports.
Mr Abbott told Sydney’s WSFM radio that “at the moment my job is to try to stop the executions going ahead and I don’t want to pre-empt what may or may not happen afterwards”.
“I think these two are well and truly reformed characters and I hope the Indonesians will accept that, acknowledge it, and act appropriately,” he added.
The Prime Minister’s comments follow Foreign Minister Julie Bishop’s statement yesterday that “at this point” it was necessary for Australian consular officials to remain in Indonesia, Fairfax reports.
Previously, Mamamia wrote:
Suddenly, in our neat and ordered world, Death is not a stranger. No longer an invisible, apologetic presence in a hospital room, or lost among the mourners at a dignified funeral.
Now, a noisy thug, stalking the street with armed gunmen. Selecting victims randomly or with vile purpose, and sponsoring tele-events of live slaughter. Martin Place. The Parisian kosher supermarket. Charlie Hebdo.
And with Death comes his snide mate, Regret. If only we had anticipated. If only we could have stopped it. But you cannot bring back the dead.
So when we do have a chance to cheat death, to flaunt mercy in the face of pitilessness, we should grasp it. If there are lives we can snatch from death’s haul, we should: for the sake of those lives, for ourselves, and in moral tribute to those unjustly slain.
Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan, the two Australian prisoners on death row in Indonesia, are just such lives. Saving them is an opportunity to spit in the face of sauntering death.
Related content: Bali 9 face death penalty.
Clearly, they are no Katrina Dawson or Tori Johnson, leading blameless lives. They are men who committed wicked crimes trafficking drugs. But after they are shot to death, their Australian bodies and Australian families will be just as broken as those of our virtuous dead.
Of course, some will say convicted drug runners deserve no mercy. They took the risk and must pay the bloody penalty.
This is not the time to rehearse the standard arguments against capital punishment. Suffice to say when the state kills it is by definition a killer: only the justification varies.
But almost everyone, Australians and Indonesians, Christians, Muslims and atheists — but not ISIS and Al Qa’ida — believes in the notion of mercy. What we look for is some spark to justify it.