FRANKLY — and there’s no need to be diplomatic about this — who cares if Schapelle Corby is released on parole from an Indonesian prison? A convicted drug smuggler who tried to implicate many, many others in her crime, and who has cost the Australian taxpayer dearly in her demands on government resources, is a criminal, not a hero. Her release demands raised eyebrows, not celebration, and Corby should be treated with the contempt she deserves.
I’m not going to apologise for the fact that I couldn’t care less about Schapelle Corby; the stupid woman is lucky to even be alive.
Her arrest in 2004 and subsequent conviction on charges of attempting to smuggle 4.2kg of marijuana into Indonesia, hidden in her boogie board bag, was newsworthy at the time in my view purely on account of the fact she represented the latest in a long line of Australians who tried to do the wrong thing in a foreign country and got caught.
In the course of her trial — and during the years after the event — Corby lashed out and tried, and failed, to implicate Qantas, the Australian Customs Service, the Australian Federal Police, and other individuals and agencies in a desperate attempt to deflect blame from herself.
And whilst she may still maintain her innocence, nobody — apart from her family — has uttered a syllable to suggest she was wrongly convicted.
This case alone is evidence enough of the merit in proclamations from the Abbott government that if Australian citizens get themselves into trouble overseas, there is a limit to how much assistance will be forthcoming from the Commonwealth: government efforts on Corby’s behalf have cost hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of dollars over the past ten years, and that money would be better spent delivering services to law-abiding citizens, cutting taxes, or in the post-ALP era, repaying government debt.
Any idiot knows (and I use the term advisedly) that to take drugs into most south-east Asian countries is to invite a death sentence. That is the law in countries where trafficking drugs is a capital offence. Corby, with her 4.2kg stash of dope, clearly wasn’t bringing in a couple of joints to while away her time on the beach.
It is unfortunate, if it is true, that Corby developed complex and deep-seated psychiatric problems during her incarceration at Indonesia’s notorious Kerobokan Prison, and it is to be hoped that she received treatment for these problems and continues to do so.
But the point must be made that any adverse consequences Corby has suffered during her time in jail are the result of her crime, not the fact she was punished for it: to listen to much of what the Corby family and their advocates have had to say over the years, anyone would think the act of punishment itself was some kind of injustice that they should not have been forced to deign to tolerate.
“Almost 10 yeas she has lived here. One and a half years for parole,” sister Mercedes Corby told the media pack outside the prison earlier today, as if this statement itself was some kind of damnation on the fact her sister was punished for a crime she committed, to which I simply say — again — that Schapelle Corby is lucky she didn’t pay for her actions with her life.
There is nothing wrong with a collegiate spirit of national unity and a sense we all stick together in this country; after all, Australians are remarkably fair and tolerant people — it’s one of our characteristics — and we do have a finely attuned sensitivity to injustices, especially when perpetrated against those within our midst.
But on any measure of decent standards it is impossible to feel any sympathy for Schapelle Corby; in the final analysis, she is a drug mule and an international criminal who was caught, tried and sentenced in accordance with the applicable law in Indonesia, where she was apprehended.
Significantly, there have been no allegations of undue cruelty levelled against Corby’s Indonesian captors by either her family or their representatives.
And if it is true that media outlets have jostled to win the right to shove million-dollar PR contracts in Corby’s face for the right to be “the first with the exclusive” of the story of her time in prison, it is to be hoped that Attorney-General George Brandis SC moves swiftly, under proceeds of crime legislation, to confiscate the money and recoup some of the costs the taxpayers of this country have incurred on her behalf.
Who gives a rat’s rectum whether Corby is getting out of jail five years early? She is a criminal deserving scorn, not adulation.
She is a drug trafficker and an international felon, not a hero.
And the only potential positive from the sycophantic media attention Corby has received to date (and will continue to receive) is the prospect that if just one brainless young idiot looking to make fast money on Asian drug beats thinks twice about emulating the likes of Corby, the so-called Bali 9, or any of the other members of a shameful list of Australians caught and punished for trafficking illicit drugs in south-east Asia then perhaps the unbearable amount of coverage inflicted on the general public will have achieved something.
The imminent release of Schapelle Corby is newsworthy, but no more. Attempts to martyr her deserve to backfire. This is not a class act. This is not a fallen princess. This is one of the grubbier specimens our country has produced, who wasn’t as clever as she thought she was, and who failed to get away with doing the wrong thing.
And that — at the end of the day — is exactly as it should have been.