Should they death penalty be brought back into Australia?

Topics: Death Penalty, Murder, Prison Pages: 6 (1860 words) Published: October 20, 2014


The debate for restoration of the death penalty in Australia has been ongoing since the 1985 abolishment of capital punishment in Australia. Following the abolishment of capital punishment, Australia has not seen any rise in the number of homicides and murders, suggesting that execution does not deter criminals. Each time another heinous crime is committed, public outcry reignites the debate on the reintroduction of the death penalty. In Australia today many obstacles are preventing the restoration of the death penalty including the high cost of capital punishment and the history of innocent people being executed however recent political leaders have mentioned that the return of the death penalty could be appropriate. The death penalty was abolished in Australia decades ago but the battle against capital punishment was left incomplete.

Since the abolishment of the death penalty in Australia, Australia has seen no dramatic rise to the number of homicides and murders. One of the major fears when abolishing capital punishment was an increasing number of murders. This is evident in the _Australian Institute of Criminology_'s article: _"The argument for capital punishment usually hinges on the fear of increasing murder rates. Yet in Queensland, for example, in the decade prior to the abolition of capital punishment (1912-21), there were 131 murders, whereas in the decade following abolition (1923-32) there were 129 murders."_ (Potas and Walker: 1987) This information clearly shows that the abolishment of the death penalty did not lead to an increase in homicides and murders in Queensland. _Table 4_ (Potas and Walker: 1987) on the _Australian Institute of Criminology_ article also shows the effects of the abolishment on conviction rates for murder and manslaughter in the major states in Australia. From this graph, it is evident that the abolishment had no major effect on homicide trends in each state with the exception of South Australia. Capital punishment should not be brought back into Australia as execution has not deterred criminals.

The death penalty should not be brought back in Australia as it would be the Australian taxpayers that would pay the price as capital punishment is very expensive. Although many would believe that keeping a criminal under supervised imprisonment for life would be more expensive than the death penalty, the truth is that capital punishment is actually very expensive and costs much more than life imprisonment. The Australian Coalition Against Death Penalty (ACADP) is a human rights organisation which is dedicated to achieving total abolition of the death penalty in Australia. In an article written by ACADP, it is evident that the procedures are longer in a capital case and _'one single capital case could cost…around $5.5 million [and] life imprisonment for 30 years costs $1.5 million.'_ (ACADP: 2003) The process of the capital system could be limited however, creating a cheaper alternative for capital trails but this answer would result in a higher possibility of convicting and executing an innocent person.

One of the main advantages of abolishing the death penalty is the reduced risk of executing an innocent person. In the past Australia has seen judicial errors including Australia's last man hanged Ronald Ryan. Ryan was executed in 1967 when accused for murdering a prison guard when attempting to escape Pentridge Prison. _The Australian_'s story on Ronald Ryan states that _"Ryan could not have shot dead a warder during their dramatic escape… because the rifle he was using had jammed"_ (Hughes: 2007) It is now evident for Australia to see that _"the last man hanged in Australia was innocent"_ (Hughes 2007). The death penalty is a denial of human rights and it violates the right to life. The death penalty should not be brought back into Australia because it is neither right nor just to kill an innocent person.


Bibliography: Australian Coalition Against Death Penalty 2003, _ '_The High Cost of Capital Punishment ', _ABC Online Forum,_ viewed 2nd May 2014,
_Australian Coalition Against Death Penalty,_ 2014, viewed 3rd June 2014,
_Death Penalty_, 2014_,_ viewed 2nd June 2014,
Hughes, G 2007, 'Ronald Ryan did not kill warder ', _The Australian,_ 21 December, viewed 31st May 2014,
Potas, I & Walker, J 1987, 'Capital Punishment ', _Australian Institute of Criminology,_ viewed 31st May 2014,
Williams, G 2010, 'No death penalty, no shades of grey ' _Debate About Death Penalty,_ viewed 4th June 2014,
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