Barnaby Joyce is right - we do need to talk about the death penalty.

It’s a discussion that has never been so important.

There aren’t a lot of days when I agree with Barnaby Joyce. Today is that day. He’s got it spot on.

Barnaby Joyce told Lateline last night that we should have a discussion about bringing back the death penalty in Australia: “I think that the discussion we’re having about others we should also be carrying out domestically.”

And he’s absolutely correct – now is the perfect time for us to have that conversation.

Barnaby Joyce isn’t alone on this. We do need to talk about the death penalty.

Exactly what the death penalty means has never been so real to all Australians.

As the body of two men have the bullets removed from their hearts and are sown up to be returned to their families.

As a woman started this week as a newlywed and ended it as a widow.

As family, friends and millions who never knew Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran mourn their loss.

More: This is what has been lost in the execution of the Bali Nine

Now is the perfect time to talk about the barbarity of the death penalty. Now is the time to discuss how pointless it is. Now is the time for us to say as Australians we will never again see this happen in our country.

Now is the time to say to people who support the death penalty: What is it that you think our justice system is for? Why do we send people to prisons? Why do we sentence them? What is it for?

If it’s to rehabilitate criminals, that opportunity is lost.

If it’s to deter other criminals from committing the same crime, we know that doesn’t work.

If it is to give justice to a victim’s family, nothing that is done to a criminal will reduce a victim’s pain or the pain of their family. It will just create pain for another family.

If it’s to punish criminals, it is certainly a cruel way to die, which may give satisfaction to some people. But ask yourself this: with the number of cases that we know a person has been wrongly convicted, is that a risk we’re prepared to take? And even if we are confident we have the right person, how is death more punishing than a life in prison? Now that most states have legislation that means we can keep the worst serial offenders in prison indefinitely, what is easier? Twenty minutes of agony as the criminal dies or a lifetime of incarceration? An eye for an eye is a very short-sighted view for even the most bloody-minded of us.

Now is the time for us to say as Australians we will never again see this happen in our country.

Now is the time for us to have these conversations. In our homes, in our schools, in our workplaces. Now is the time for everyone to talk to anyone who supports the death penalty (and Barnaby Joyce says there are a lot of people who do), and explore these ideas. What do they want from our justice system? What would they want for their sons, daughters, brothers and sisters?

Now is the time for Australia to say that this is not something we would ever want in this country.

Now is the time for Australians to say that we expect that our country will continue to make this stand in every diplomatic engagement with a country that supports the death penalty.

For more: Two lives wasted, but they won’t be forgotten.

Now is the time to ensure that we make this a part of our national identity – we are a country who values life and values justice.

Barnaby Joyce is right. Now is the perfect time to have this conversation – because as the bodies of Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran are flown home, the ramifications have never been so real.

For more coverage of the events over the last few days:

Vale, Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran.

“Both cruel and unnecessary”: Australia reacts to the Bali Nine executions.

Mary Jane Fiesta Veloso: the woman spared from execution in Indonesia overnight.

Anger turns to Australian Federal Police after Bali Nine executions.

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