It’s likely that the small number of hysterical reactions to the case, so loved by television, have a “racist”:http://www.stuff.co.nz/stuff/0,2106,3297407a12,00.html or an “anti-Indonesian”:http://www.abc.net.au/am/content/2005/s1379911.htm character. But the more widespread rumblings of concernare neither. They remind us of a popular idea of justice that the commentariat should find even more disturbing Like the rest of the commentariat (“Quiggin’s commenters”:http://johnquiggin.com/index.php/archives/2005/05/27/schapelle-corby-the-bali-9-and-the-war-on-drugs/#comments could be taken as representative) I am reluctant to second-guess the “decision”:http://dailytelegraph.news.com.au/story.jsp?sectionid=1274&storyid=3205288 in a case without hearing all the evidence. My idea of justice, like theirs, is strongly colored by concepts of fair process and forensic examination of the facts. But these are not the chief concern of most people. The best evidence says that an ideal of justice (perhaps not the only one) for most people is equity guaranteed by a stern, swift and unswerveable authority—more or less in loco patris. Why is the TV Show Judge Judy such a hit? “Court show viewers,” according to this “Slate”:http://slate.msn.com/id/2118556 article, “don’t seem to want moral conundrums or technical wrinkles:’ bq. “They love Sheindlin’s show because she offers them a fantasy of how they’d like the justice system to operate—swiftly, and without procedural mishaps or uppity lawyers. They get to see wrongdoers publicly humiliated by a strong authority figure. There is no uncertainty after Sheindlin renders her verdict and bounds off the bench, and there are certainly no lengthy appeals.”(“Slate(link to this excerpt)”:http://slate.msn.com/id/2118556) For ‘moral conundrums’ and ‘technical wrinkles’, read drugs policy or a dispassionate review of the reliable evidence. The equity issue? Nicely summed up in this quote from one of the organizers of protests in Corby’s home town: bq. “People are angry that the organiser of the Bali bombings that killed 88 Australians received about two years jail,” she said. “We have also given them so much aid.”(“Daily Telegraph”:http://dailytelegraph.news.com.au/story.jsp?sectionid=1274&storyid=3208515) This is not about Corby at all.
Peter Gallagher is student of piano and photography. He was formerly a senior trade official of the Australian government. For some years after leaving government, he consulted to international organizations, governments and business groups on trade and public policy.
He teaches graduate classes at the University of Adelaide on trade research methods and the role of firms in trade and growth and tweets trade (and other) stuff from @pwgallagher