Your say: Is a scholarship named in honour of Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran a step too far? 174

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According to the Prime Minister, it is.

Australian Catholic University yesterday revealed plans it was going to create a scholarship in honour of the two executed Bali nine ringleaders, Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran. Whilst a kind gesture for the families of the deceased, it has had many scratching their heads, including the PM.

Speaking to 2GB, Mr Abbott responded to the decision saying while he deplores what happened this week, there can be no sympathy to drug trafficking, “absolutely none”.

He called the university’s choice very odd, “Particularly for an institution which is supposed to stand up for the best values.

“I know part of Christian faith is forgiveness, but another part of Christian faith is calling people to be their best selves”.

“All of [the men’s repentance] is admirable, but whether that justifies what has apparently been done, I think, is open to profound question”.

On Friday, Vice Chancellor of ACU, Professor Greg Craven, released a statement explaining the reasoning for the university’s decision to create a scholarship

“We did this because ACU is committed to the dignity of the human person, and that applies equally to all human beings: victims as well as to those who have been convicted of crimes,” the statement said.

“As a Catholic university committed to promoting a culture of life, we stand opposed to the death penalty.

“The scholarships would be a fitting tribute to the reformation, courage and dignity of the two men”.

Indonesian students applying to study in Australia would be eligible, and part of their application would involve an essay on the sanctity of human life.

“In a small but deeply symbolic way, the writing by Indonesian students on the sanctity of life would be an ongoing contribution toward the eventual abolition of the death penalty in Indonesia”.


So what do you think? Is this a step too far? Should these men be glorified in an academic institution? What message is it sending?


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  1. What nonsense. I agree totally with Tony Abbott. They were drug dealers.

  2. I guess I get where the church is coming from the men did turn their lives around by reforming but I think I would not want to be given a scholarship knowing that the name of that scholarship was named after 2drug smugglers the Christian religion is all about forgiveness I know but it does not seem right

  3. They were criminals, they were caught and suffered the consequences. You may not agree with the penalty but you cant say that they were unaware that death was a possibility. There are two less drug traffickers in the world. Forget em.

  4. very inappropriate. They had turned their lives around and will
    be remembered for that more than their crime but a scholarship

    1 REPLY
    • They SAID they’d turned their lives around, but wouldn’t YOU try that one, if it might get you out of being shot? And then to name a scholarship in “honour” of them – well, that is plain lunacy!

  5. Well if people are Christians they should forgive!

    1 REPLY
    • Dianne Evans, forgiveness is one thing, but to glorify them is another. Forgiveness is a strange concept, when do you forgive? I have had my house broken into and my only valuable stuff stolen, I have had a car stolen, I have lived in fear because some drug affected neighbours told me if I complained to the police about their domestic violence they would burn my house down. none of this matters to me now, it is in the past and I have moved on. I suppose that is forgiveness. but do you forgive people while you are in fear? When I lived there,every time I turned into my street after work, I wondered if I still had a house. Should I have forgiven them when I saw it still standing each time? By the way, it was never me who called the police, it was usually the commercial traders across the road because it was upsetting to their customers hearing the abuse.

  6. That is wrong…even though a lot of people thought that the execution was wrong, a lot of people did not! I for one have seen how drugs ruin families lives….I abhor drug use or anything to do with it.
    My grandchildrens lives will never be the same and it is all because of drugs. I am doing the very best I can with a 6 yo and 5 yo twins because their parents could not be bothered because of DRUGS…probably supplied, somewhere along the line by these two scum bags. This was NOT their first time, they had masterminded more shipments previously and one of them through contacts while they were in jail….so….if a university offered this scholarship in a school or university my grandchildren eventually go to I would take them out and place them somewhere else. These people are not heroes and don’t deserve hero status they are just low life drug traffickers who we don’t want our younger generation to aspire to.

    1 REPLY
    • Helen,
      I feel for your pain of loss and new responsibilities at a time in your life that you should have been enjoying your grandchildren rather than being their primary carer. Drugs and Drug dealers destroy lives. These men were not rehabilitated, they are great actors enjoying the good life with computers, libraries and art classes. Many poor families in Australia would love to have such a life!

      1 REPLY
      • You’re so right Brenda – a stunt they pulled, to try to get out of being shot. Thank goodness they failed!

  7. Absolutely ludicrous – these men were rehabilitated because of their fear. Remorse through fear. Feel sympathy for their families but honour them by endowing a scholarship-NO WAY.

    1 REPLY
    • I agree with you Lynne. I would be appalled if any of my grandchildren accepted a scholarship in the name of convicted criminals. There are so many deserving people in this country that have done good for others, why not name a scholarship after one of them.

  8. You have got to be kidding!! They were drug traffickers – they knew the consequences if they were caught and did it anyway. There are so many people or groups that are far more worthy of a scholarship in their name than a pair of convicted and executed drug traffickers. Has the world gone completely mad!!

    1 REPLY
  9. A truly putrid idea! Drug smugglers today, we’ll be worshiping mass murderers next.

  10. These men were rehabilitated, I don’t believe by fear, but from realising the seriousness of their crimes. They helped others and released papers for students to encourage them not to waste their lives. I think the Church has the right to acknowledge that forgiveness is part of their religion and sets this as an example of rehabilitation . I don’t condone drugs, nor the dealers, but do feel every human being has a right to turn their lives around , and the Church recognises 10 years of efforts on the part of these men.

    3 REPLY
    • I am sorry to disagree with you, they were “rehabilitated” only once they prove themselves back in society and they didn’t do that, why doesn’t matter. Fear, gaol boredom and a few other issues had them do different things, but to say they are rehabilitated whilst never able to prove it is ludicrous, your idea of rehabilitation and mine differ quite a bit, but our answers to the main question are exactly the same, NO to a scholarship, unless it is to import drugs into Australia.

      1 REPLY
      • Michael, they did not get a chance to show outside of the prison walls the changes both had made in their lives.
        But those who work in prisons and fellow inmates are the best BS detectors, and both prison staff and the inmates in the jail saw the differences in these guys lives. The Governor of the jail advocated for them. Other prisoners offered to take their places in front of the firing squad.
        I am not for one minute condoning what they did. Drug smuggling is wrong.
        However, they surely did turn their lives around, and from the press release from the uni, that is what they are recognising.

        1 REPLY
        • I very much doubt they did turn their lives around! Just one big ten-year lie, to get out of being shot, in my opinion.

    • I agree Margaret. Prison guards, clergymen, Mike Willisie, lawyers etc confirmed that these two had done their best to make amends for the lives they had led and had gone about spreading the message of doing the right thing. Who amongst us is the person they were 10 years ago? How many of us have done things, with the benefit of hindsight, now know were wrong. Yes they WERE drug dealers, then they were an artist and a pastor. They weren’t asking to be let out of jail, just to be allowed to live. Not at any time did they deny that what they had done was wrong. The message that has been given by the Indonesians is that there is absolutely no reason to be rehabilitated, no reason to reform because there is no such thing as forgiveness or mercy. I imagine all those others in that jail have got the message loud and clear. As for creating scholarships in their name, I thought I was set against this but perhaps the University’s intent is to show to Indonesian students that people can change and we Australians – with the exception of most of those on this chat – do know how to show forgiveness and mercy. At least some of us do.

      1 REPLY
      • Indonesia has a law, If you deal in drugs:: death. Signs all over airport, There are 20 countries round the world with the death penalty. Are we going to tell them their laws are wrong if they decide to do it to another person, Chan was addict at 14, working for big boss in Kings X. HIS name was already on Overseas list, because of other trips. What makes it worse, they would never have been caught with anything . The mules were coming on their own. These jerks were at hotel ,in pool.

  11. Absolutely NOT….glorifying drug cheats and criminals what next…

  12. Even though they turned their lives around their names
    will be remembered for a very dark reason. A litany of sadness best not
    celebrated with a scholarship

    1 REPLY
    • I totally agree with your comments Val.

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