As Islamic State begins to deplete in power in Iraq and Syria, the Australian Government is preparing for the imminent return of foreign fighters. Government ministers are already speculating as to the appropriate forms of punishment for would-be terrorists and returning soldiers who have been involved in the Islamic State’s insurgency in the Arab world.
Our best option is to emulate the Philippines. They are currently in the process of reintroducing the death penalty for heinous crimes, in order to strike fear into the hearts of criminals. One such criminal who the death penalty is being considered for is Australian child pornography creator, serial child molester and child murderer, Peter Scully. Scully’s latest crime involved the rape and murder of an 11-year-old Filipino girl. Criminal prosecutors believe he is a criminal so heinous that a prison sentence is considered too lenient. Similar punishment should be applied to Australians found to be perpetrators of terrorism.
In 2014, a Roy Morgan poll showed that 52.2% of Australians support capital punishment. The practice has been outlawed in Australia since 1984, yet in light of overcrowded prison cells and returning foreign fighters, it is a conversation that Australians urgently need to have.
Community outrage around soft-on-crime judiciaries is at peak levels. People who never should have been released on parole perpetrated the violent murders of Melbourne locals such as Jill Meagher, Sarah Cafferkey, Sharon Siermans and Masa Vukotic. It is time to strengthen our approach to criminal punishment.
Current laws have failed to deter would-be criminals from planning and perpetrating violent crimes. As of July 2015, Australian counter-terrorism operations have been successful in foiling at least six terrorism plots. However, it only takes one attack like the one perpetrated by Man Haron Monis at the Sydney Lindt cafe, for innocent lives to be lost. Capital punishment, if implemented correctly, could be our greatest asset in curbing terrorism and other gruesome crimes.
It is imperative that we introduce harsh laws that will deter foreign fighters returning from Syria and Iraq from perpetrating terrorism on our shores. It is time to have a conversation about reintroducing capital punishment for terror offences.