Parliament denied a role in our most important decision, says campaign group

 Parliament denied a role in our most important decision, says Campaign for an Iraq War Inquiry group

Thursday, October 2nd 2014 - Serious concerns continue to be expressed about the Australian Government’s refusal to allow parliamentary debate before Australia goes to war again.  The Campaign for an Iraq War Inquiry, which has raised awareness of the lessons that should have been learnt from the 2003 invasion of Iraq, strongly supports the Greens’ call for such debate and the courageous stance also taken by parliamentarians such as Melissa Parke and Andrew Wilkie.  A decision to send the ADF abroad into armed combat should have full parliamentary debate and approval not only to authorise it, but to define the duration and geographical particulars of that deployment.

Australia should fall into line with the practice now adopted by the UK, where Parliament debates and authorises any deployment into armed conflict abroad.  In the US, it is Congress that authorises the use of military force.

In addition, it is ironic that the commencement of Australia’s military role in Iraq can be held up for the completion of a Status of Forces agreement with the Iraqi Government, but cannot be brought to Australian lawmakers at any stage.

CIWI President, former Defence Department head Paul Barratt, said, “ADF personnel deserve the greatest possible scrutiny of decisions that put them in harm’s way, as do the people of Iraq, Syria and the region which Australia helped to destabilise so disastrously in 2003.  This is too important a matter to be left to the vagaries of small group decision making, in which a dominant  Prime Minister will always get his/her way, and it is too easy to ignore the reservations of some of the participants and/or be swept up by faulty intelligence assessments fed to us by our allies.”

There are a host of questions that remain unanswered about the deployments, such as the specific goals and end points that are being sought, their anticipated duration, the likely civilian casualties, the economic cost to Australians, the legality of any actions in or over Syria, and the likelihood of ground troops being needed.  Without parliamentary debate, the Australian people are denied information on these most crucial questions. 

 

For interviews:

CIWI President, Paul Barratt  0411 276 996

For further information: CIWI Secretary  Dr Sue Wareham 02 6257 4086 (Tues –Thurs), 02 6253 1117 (other days)