The Instigator
Con (against)
0 Points
The Contender
Pro (for)
10 Points

Should the death penalty be reintroduced in Australia?

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Post Voting Period
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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/24/2013 Category: Politics
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 14,944 times Debate No: 35928
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (1)
Votes (2)




The death penalty was discarded in the late 1900's in Australia. Since then, there has been several huge debates about whether it should be brought back.

As members of the general public, what side do you stand on?


I take it that the first round is mainly for accepting the challenge, so here it goes.

I will take the stand for reintroducing the death penalty in Australia, and I look forward to having this debate with you.

Debate Round No. 1


Hello! Yes, you are most correct in assuming that the first round is only for accepting. My apologies for not making that clear. Other than that- thanks for accepting and good luck!

I will be presenting one main argument per round, but you may choose what you chose. :)

You cannot teach that killing is bad by killing and as the famous quote goes "an eye for an eye will only make the whole world blind". Once upon a time most advanced countries had the death penalty, but now as time goes on, society has discovered that death does not teach us anything and is sometimes even the easy way out.

My first point is about the principle behind our modern legal system, which is to ultimately to try and prevent crime. After all, we only have punishment so that people will learn to not do bad things. So, I ask you- how does death teach us anything? It doesn't.

By having a death penalty, the government is promoting killing as a solution to a difficult problem. But when we clearly think about it, do terrorist or murders who deal in death everyday care for their own lives? No, to them, the ones who really deserve it, the Death Penalty is merely the easy way out.

A survey conducted in Australia in 2007 asked more than 10 thousand people whether they would rather die or spend 50 years in an isolation cell in prison. 80% chose Death.

While it can be understood looking at the responsibility point of view sometimes, it is hard to understand how you can make someone pay when they are ultimately dead. There are other ways of punishing criminals which involved them actually feeling remorse, guilt and perhaps even teaching others their mistakes.

Instead our governments should focus on teaching people to do the right thing, whether it be in school or in course because it will benefit them, and not because the police will come and get you. After all- do you want to live in a society where people do good things due to feat or because they genuinely believe good actions will benefit society?



I'm sorry if the argument for this round is somewhat inadequate, but I'm currently on the move from one place to another (which has proved to be more time-consuming than anticipated), and unfortunately haven't had much time to do much writing or research at all. But I'll be back for the next round...

Now to the issue at hand:

The idea behind the Australian and other Common Law judiciary should be to restore the balance between a culprit and his/her victims, which means that if you do harm to somebody, you shall be forced to make the victim whole. When it comes to capital punishment, we are talking either murder or treason, which is not easy to address by giving the offending party ordinary jail time.
How do you make amends to the family of a murder victim or to the country you have betrayed? Sometimes blood calls out for blood, and in order for the aggrieved party to feel closure the best thing to do is to put the guilty person to death.

Most mass murderers and terrorists have no regard for human life. Period. They don't care how many they have to kill in order to promote their social or political goals, nor do they care if the state decides to execute them after having been found guilty in a court of law. And they do not care if the punishment for their crime is to spend the rest of their life in solitary confinement, and for some this is even regarded as a road to martyrdom.
Therefore there's no reason to believe countries that has abolished the death penalty is in any way superior to the ones where it is still on the books.

No education in the world is ultimately going to stop a person that is planning on killing another individual, therefore I believe that in order for the State to meet the marketplace demand for justice and protection from dangerous individuals, the death penalty should still be an alternative.
Debate Round No. 2


Hello again! Here is my second argument and rebuttal to your first point.
My opposition has stated by the idea behind the Judiciary branch of our governments is to restore balance between a culprit and their victim. I agree that this is one of the ideas, but whether it is the most important is the main one is another matter altogether.

Now, my opposition have also stated that if you do harm to somebody, you shall be forced to make the victim whole again, which I agree with. BUT- if the victim is dead, you cannot compensate for life with death. They are two totally different things that are not similar in any way. In crimes when money is given to the victims, I agree that it is a poor compensation for a life, but how does death compensate life any better?

Normally capital punishment is given in cases of murder or treason, and in countries where there is no capital punishment the criminals are given a life sentence. On a meaner scale, they forfeit their lives, but also have to suffer during their punishment too. I would be more satisfied with a criminal who has murdered one of my friends to rot in jail and feel that they had done something bad and pay for it for the rest of their life, than to be killed and in their last words say things like "they deserved it" or "I hope you all die" or something that doesn't reassure me at all. Putting criminals to death doesn't give families closure.

My second point is linked to a statement made my opposition: "There's no reason to believe countries that has abolished the death penalty is in any way superior to the ones where it is still on the books"

Well, there is- here are the statistics.
"A survey conducted in Australia in 2007 asked more than 10 thousand people whether they would rather die or spend 50 years in an isolation cell in prison. 80% chose Death.
"A general, US states with the death penalty has higher and increasing crime rates.
"China executes thousands of people every year and has one of the most high crime rates in the world and it"s still increasing.
"Most European countries which do not have the death penalty have crimes rates that a very low ad going down. Examples are Norway, England, Sweden, France etc.
"Statistics from the FBI uniform crime report finds that the death penalty does not deter crime.

So are these countries superior in terms of stopping and preventing crime, YES- they sure are!

And do criminals fear death or prison more? Well here are some more information from Australia (which I stated in my last argument) - A survey conducted in Australia in 2007 asked more than 10 thousand people whether they would rather die or spend 50 years in an isolation cell in prison. 80% chose Death.

After all, if mass murders and terrorists have no regard for human life as my opposition says, how is the death penalty (ending life) going to stop them? Most of the terrorists these days are suicide bombers, so they solve the punishment problem for us.

Education may not completely stop crime for many years to come in many people"s minds, but no one thought pieces of metal (aeroplanes) could fly some years back. Times change and our ways of punishment must change with it. In conclusion since the death penalty does not deter crime, does not necessarily give closure to the families of the victims and does not make criminals pay justly and promotes that idea that killing is the easy solution to problems the death penalty should not be reintroduced.

Thank you.


As we are in agreement with regards to criminal punishment as a way for the victim to be made whole, or at least to quench the families thirst or revenge, I see no reason why this should preclude the use of capital punishment. It is not that this method of correcting criminals is the best one out there, but it is my belief that the legal system should have a wide range of equipment in their "toolbox".

With respect to the argument for the superiority of countries where death penalty has been abolished over the countries where it is still in effect, there is still no link between the lack of DP and low crime/recidivism rate. As we all know: Causation does not equal correlation.

As to the survey where 10 000 persons were asked to choose between the death penalty and serving 50 years in isolation, I would like to comment that it is not often the case that a convicted criminal gets to spend his sentence in solitary confinement. A murderer will most likely get a life-sentence and unless there are circumstances making the prison do otherwise, he or she will be in general population. It is therefore a false choice.

Education, as in learning people to behave and not hurt other beings, is important, and is the role of both the family and society as a whole to help in this by learning respect and equality to the children and youth. But when the education is not enough, we need a legal system that is well-equipped and able to hand out sentences that both serves the public and upholds the right to fair trials.
I would like to elaborate more on this in the next round, so please stay tuned for that when the weekend approaches!

Debate Round No. 3


lady_finger1111 forfeited this round.


In this round I will firstly try to answer my opponent's arguments more thorough than I did last week, and then in the end elaborate more on my point that education, although important, is not enough, and that we need a robust and well-equipped judiciary.

For her first point, my opponent stated two things: That executing a murderer does not bring the victim(s) back, and that life makes the perpetrator suffer more.
While it is true that putting the killer to death does nothing to "revive" the victim, neither does giving him a life sentence.

According to JD and Professor Emeritius Hugo Adam Bedau at Tufts University (The 2004 book Debating the Death Penalty: Should America Have Capital Punishment? The Experts on Both Sides Make Their Best Case):
- Few lifers years down the road wish they instead had received the Death Penalty.
- Few Death Row Prisoners refuse clemency.
- The fact that those who are condemned to death do everything in their power to get the sentenced postponed or reduced to long term sentence in a way "lifers" do not, shows they fear death more than life in prison.

The above - mentioned source therefore shows that there is no evidence for the claim that life behind bars makes the convict suffer more than if he is sentenced to death.

As for her second point: Statistics may show that countries with the DP has higher crime rate than those without it, however, this argument does nothing to show that the DP has anything to do with it.
And with respect to DP not deterring crime, it is a well known fact that a murderer seldom take into consideration the punishment for his or her actions.

Lastly, my opponent refers to a survey where people were asked what they would choose between 50 years in solitary and the death penalty. My objection to this argument is (1) that it is unrealistic considering the fact that isolation is rarely used, and when they do use it, it is mostly for reasons of protection or to correct unwanted behavior among inmates. The choice is still in a western context between ordinary life sentence or the needle.
And (2) I've already shown in this round that convicts would rather have life sentence than death penalty.

So to end the argument for this round:
Every murder case is unique, and the form of punishment given in one case may not be deemed appropriate in another. The victim's family should have their opinion taken into consideration with regards to restitution, and the more well-equipped our legal system is (i.e. the more "tools" they have available), the more they will be able to hand out punishments that make the victim's family feel whole again
Debate Round No. 4


lady_finger1111 forfeited this round.


As my opponent has forfeited the last two rounds, and we don’t really have any arguments to rebut or present (not that it would matter very much, since this is basically the our closing statements), it is time for the voters to decide.

I guess you could say that this debate has basically been between the two ideas:

1) The death penalty teaches us that murder is bad by killing the perpetrator, and therefore should be abolished in advanced civilizations. It is the responsibility of the government to educate us about good and bad choices, and instead of handing out the DP, our Government should put the guilty person in prison either for the rest of his life, or for a lengthy amount of time.

2) The death penalty is in itself neither good, nor bad, and should only be regarded as yet another tool for the judiciary to hand out punishments that makes the victim or his family feel whole again, and that they feel that the issue has been brought to a closure. To educate people about doing the right thing, is important, but belongs to the family and society and not the State, and if you do murder another human being no amount of education is going to change that fact.

What really needs to be discussed, is not whether or not the death penalty should be re-introduced in Australia, but how this could be implemented in a cost-effective way that does not take away the rights of the accused to an attorney and having his case heard by an independent court, etc.

It can be argued that even in our “advanced” society, we accept that sometimes taking the life of another person is justified. The fact that federal and state laws allow for abortion, and that there are discussions going on in our society about the legalization of euthanasia, proves my point. Therefore, I see no reason why criminals should not suffer that same fate.

So I thank you for the debate, and I hope that I have argued convincingly for the death penalty being a sound and just punishment even in our western civilization today.

Debate Round No. 5
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by Archibald 3 years ago
Main problem is you only have to get it wrong once, and you have done more harm than any conceivable amount of good you could have done by executing 1000 criminals who justly deserved it. And it does happen. No, no and no.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by Ragnar 3 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: FF
Vote Placed by RoyLatham 3 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Con forfeited, leaving Pro's arguments unanswered. Pro had at least one source and used it effectively to show that that prisoners don't really prefer a death penalty. Con's assertions were not sourced.