Should snap polls be used to make critical decisions? 430



View Profile

Snap polls are taken at a moments’ notice and can capture the thoughts of only a very small sample of the population. We see them on news programs, websites and even on radio, but should they really be used to make crucial decisions or be taken as evidence for a majority’s views?

This is what has happened today, with it being revealed that the Indonesian government has used results from a Triple J poll in their reasoning for denying Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran’s second judicial review.

The only problem is that the poll was conducted on a 30-minute youth radio program, and had 2123 respondents – about 0.0001 per cent of our population.

Is Triple J’s demographic, 16-35 year olds, really a good enough representation of our thoughts and views on capital punishment? Bear in mind that Australians aged 20-29 are more likely to use illicit drugs than any other age group, with 27 per cent having used drugs in the last 12 months. And also, it could be fair to say that the younger generation are less informed about drug penalties, capital punishment and moral issues, thus less likely to be able to give an educated answer on the topic.

Clearly not taking any of this into consideration, the Indonesian courts have used the poll to justify the execution of two of our citizens. SMH reports that the two men have lost their last chance of being taken off death row, and their lawyer Julian McMahon said that the result of the Triple J Roy Morgan Research survey “is now a tool being used to get [his] clients killed”.

2123 young Australians were asked, “In your opinion, if an Australian is convicted of drug trafficking in another country & sentenced to death, should the penalty be carried out?”, and voted yes or no via text message. According to the results, 52 per cent of the sample respondents said agreed that yes, there should be executions of drug traffickers. But is that how you, an over 60, feel? Does this reflect your stance?

Mr McMahon also told SMH, “The AG and the ambassador have publicly relied on the SMS poll as a factor justifying execution. They say that it pushes them to do it, that they have Australian public support”.

Tony Abbott and Julie Bishop are still making representations at the highest level, although it seems like this is not enough and isn’t working, and time is running out to save them. In two weeks from now, we could be sitting here contemplating their deaths. It could hurt our connection with Indonesia, or it may not.

Currently, it is not known when Andrew and Myuran will be executed, but it is thought to go ahead within two weeks.

It is clear that polls such as these, whether political or general, should be taken with a grain of salt, for they could have dire consequences…


Tell us your thoughts below.


To find your nearest Coffee Meetup and register, please click here or head to

We hope to see you celebrating the over 60 life with other over 60s on February 17 2015.


Screen Shot 2015-02-04 at 4.00.39 pm

Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. They need to stop trying to blame everyone/everything else for what these two did. I dont agree with death penalty but they knew the law when they took the chance.

    4 REPLY
    • Agree Jude. I feel sad they will be shot, however they didn’t think if kids dying on drugs when they were trying to make big money out of drugs. I try not to think about it to often.

    • There would be no drug trade if people said no to drugs. Everyone has to take responsibility for their own part in things.

    • Couldn’t agree more Anne Gilbert, those drugs may have killed one of my grandchildren. At the end of the day, we can’t do anything about there law and we wouldn’t appreciate it if they did with us.

  2. Of course not. Sounds like a ‘never let the truth get in the way of a good story’ to me. And no, I do not support the death penalty – EVER.

    3 REPLY
    • Oh really. So rapists & Child molesters & killers deserve to live??!!!! Perhaps they should move in with you & your family ??!!

      1 REPLY
      • Why don’t you go the whole hog and bring back caning and corporal punishment in schools. When we sink to the lowest denominator we are then no better than those who have offended.

    • We have heard news of murderers, rapists, paedophiles, violent domestic assaults, become serial re-offenders; so for these crimes, the death penalty fits the crime, for they can never be “rehabilitated”!

  3. No. I think they have reformed during their 10 years in a Bali gaol and I’d like to see them given another chance.

    6 REPLY
    • Marvellous how all these criminals suddenly reform or find religion only once they are locked up, it looks good on their record.

    • it is not Australian taxpayers money is Indonesian taxpayer and they get more than enough from us in aide

    • So Australia not bank rolling the solicitors? Stop the aide.Stop going there!!!
      They never kill there tourist trade in the future,fools

    • You’re right Bindy. For I think if our Gov’t will give the Indonesian President a reassurance that “foreign aid” will increase & continue, the President will change his tune! Our gov’t has mentioned on previous news, that foreign aid to countries in receipt of such, will be cut as part of the “budget measures”! Who is to say that such news won’t be relayed by the Embassies’ officials here to their own countries?

  4. I don’t know about snap polls, but this is Indonesian law. We all
    Know what happens if you are caught carrying drugs into that country. Do the crime, do the time. Indonesia has NO say in our laws. We have NO say in theirs. Sometimes we have to just accept it. This is what happens. Who are we to say it’s wrong.

    20 REPLY
    • Out of the country!!!!
      They got it in that godforsaken cesspit bali….how prevalent are drugs in that corrupted hole …???

      1 REPLY
      • look yes they got caught but nobody cared until they were told the firing squad was next all of a sudden every one is shouting the roof down to let them go but dont forget it was one of the dads that dobbed them in plus they didnt make all that money & that could be your kids that are safe now & not in the

    • What people tend to forget is that it was the Australian government that tipped of Bali what was about to happen,and that’s how they got busted

    • we condemn Muslims for their barbaric behaviour and yet we accept this and some seem to want them put to hard to fathom

    • It was $4 million worth of drugs, that’s a lot of damage to our Aussie kids. I don’t believe in the death penalty but we can’t blame anyone but those who are responsible. The AFP had no choice but to let the Indonesian Police know.
      I can do nothing but pray for their souls.

    • The only other solution for the future would be don’t go to Bali.

      1 REPLY
      • people are now saying dont go to Bali but its there law you should not blame the people of Bali for this blame the people who try making money out of drugs

    • We are human beings and that makes it wrong……we are not God we shouldn’t murder fellow humans…….these men are reformed….you wouldn’t say that if they were your loved ones……this is wrong in every way

    • Margaret, it’s a great philosophy until you find that it’s one of your own loved one on death row. I doubt you would then feel so self-assured.

    • None of my family is that stupid. We’ve been many times to Indonesia not just Bali. We don’t carry drugs. Anywhere so it’s highly unlikely any of my loved ones is going to be in this situation. Don’t make this personal. I stand by my original remark. Do the crime. Do the time. Anywhere.

    • Well for your sake I hope you never have to confront the frailty & unpredictability of the human condition, Margaret. Not sure you’d cope very well.

    • Some people are so judgemental and narrow minded, they lack the empathy and understanding it requires to see we are all human beings, we all make mistakes, unfortunately some make bigger mistakes in their lives than others. Margaret, these boys do not deserve to be MURDERED !! I know, it’s so much easier to adopt a holier than now attitude and stick ones head in the sand !!! Oh and Karma one day will come knocking on your door !!

    • i condem the cops for tipping off foreigners this to me is being a traitor to your own people shame on them but we do have an awful lot of crooked cops, when they can get away of treating lawabiding citizn like criminals you can not expect honesty from them, if i had my way those cops tipping thm off would be out of the force as quick as grease litghitning !

    • I thoroughly agree Cheryl only God should judge who should live or not,we humans make many mistakes

    • The AFP did a good job?! Not likely, for if one of the dads didn’t notify someone he knew in the AFP, when he was suspicious of what his son told him, the Indo authorities wouldn’t have caught the Bali 9, & would have been caught on Australian soil instead. That same dad has rued the day he informed his “good friend” in the AFP, thinking he was doing the right thing!

    • Mike here-Floriana how can you assume they wouldn’t have been caught in Indonesia? How can you assume that the Indonesian Customs are any the less as effective as ours. They took their chances, they lost, goodbye, they are the weakest links.

  5. How dare the young respondents answer in the affirmative…what hypocrites…they are the age group that take the filthy drugs! Still, I doubt that is the reason the death penalty is being carried out, nice for Indonesia to place the blame for their decision on stupid young people in this country though.

  6. I agree they should face capital punishment as they where prepared to import 8.1kg of heron into this country. Ask paramedics who deal with ODs and the police with the violence and crime from drug induced crime. Talk to people who attend to a call for a dead 14 y/o girl o/d. And yes I’m over 60 and a paramedic.

    7 REPLY
    • The fact is ….the federal police new what they were doing and they would have been caught re entering the country and dealt with under australiam law …
      But no the federal police and our then government elected to inform the indonesion government knowing full well that the death penalty would be imposed.

    • As a paramedic you of all people should value human life, all human life. Too barbaric for my liking, reduces us all to no better than the criminals.

      1 REPLY
      • So true,sounds as though many are gathered to cheer.

    • Yes the death penalty is barbaric what is happening in this country we appear to be losing our compassion

    • some people are very hard hearted ..your right Jen compassion seems to be a thing of the past

    • I agree with you ladies…
      We are showing a lack of compassion. ..and isnt this what Indonesia is doing..

    • I don’t think that a Firing Squad is the answer but I have to say that it has been drummed into us for over 30 years if you take drugs into or get caught leaving with drugs, the penalty is DEATH. They could not make it more clear…

  7. Hind sight is always good they were after quick money for their own life style what about the mules they conned into doing their dirty work lets get it over and done with

  8. Crazy to make important life and death decisions on a radio poll such as this! I can hardly believe that any notice was taken of it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *