Principle is not for breaking

I see that persistent apologist Jim Unkles is pushing new Attorney-General Nicola Roxon to act on pardoning the Boer War multiple murderers Harry Morant and Peter Handcock. He is offering to “brief her – that is, present his version of the 1901 court martial – claiming a miscarriage of justice took place in 1901.

Unkles says the pair’s descendants are “disappointed” they haven’t secured a pardon. They’re not disappointed that Morant and Handcock killed at least a dozen innocent, unarmed civilians. That’s not an occasion for embarrassment, is it? Oh no, they’re disappointed the Government isn’t as appalled as they are about some supposed technical irregularities of the proceedings.

What about the descendants of the killers’ victims? (Every one agrees that Morant and Handcock did actually kill these people.) If the murderers are pardoned on technicalities, their descendants will probably be moire than “disappointed” – they’ll be outraged.

I hope Roxon will seek independent historical advice on the case before accepting the “brief” from obsessive partisans. I trust she will agree that Australians in war should not murder unarmed non-combatants. That would be a principle worth upholding.

– Peter Stanley, Dickson ACT, Canberra Times 11 Jan 2012
(Mr Stanley is a military historian and member of CLA)

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