100 Aussie parliamentarians from both sides of the House and 300 parliamentary staff have signed a powerful petition to the Singapore government, appealing for clemency for Nguyen Van Tuong, an Aussie sentenced to the gallows for drug smuggling. This is a last minute and second such appeal as the Singapore President had already rejected an earlier petition submitted by the convict’s lawyers.
PM John Howard is also under enormous domestic political pressure to save the Australian’s life from the gallows. The opposition Labour Party has finally woken up and add to the growing concern for an Aussie condemned to such a heinous fate.
No one has disputed Nguyen's crime but Aussies feel the death sentence is abhorrent and cruel in a modern society.
The only Aussie parliamentarian who supports the Singapore death sentence for Nguyen is Wilson Tuckey, a controversial politician who is disliked by both sides of the House and most Aussies, and a constant embarrassment to his own party for his behaviour.
Tuckey's last misconduct was flouting his party’s code of conduct for ministers by using his official ministerial letterhead to write to the South Australian State police minister to have traffic charges against his son dropped.
His attempt to misuse his ministerial position to influence a state police charge against his son led a senior federal minister, Tony Abbot, to say of him:
“Tuckey had offended against ordinary standards that we expect in this place. He had embarrassed his colleagues”
Tuckey is not unlike one of those outrageous UMNO ethnic 'heroes' who makes terrible comments from time to time but gets away with the misbehaviour because the PM is reluctant to sack him, probably due to internal party politics.
However, ignoring Tuckey’s usual nonsense, one wonders whether the growing Australian pressure can change the decision of the Singapore government. I personally doubt it but I hope I am wrong so that the life of a 25 year old man can be spared on compassionate grounds for once by PM Lee’s government.
(1) Shanmugan Murugesu - Nobility on Eve of Execution
(2) A Sad Tale of 2 Aussie Drug Smugglers
(3) Why I am Against the Death Penalty!
(4) Stupid if He's Smart, Smart if He's Stupid!