A call for war powers reform in Australia

Australians for War Powers Reform emerged out of the Campaign for an Iraq War Inquiry, established in 2012. That campaign called for an independent inquiry into the reasons behind Australia’s participation in the invasion of Iraq in 2003, to draw out what lessons can be learned for the future.

Australians for War Powers Reform takes these important questions of the original campaign forward into a renewed national examination of Australia’s war powers.

31 May 2019 ANDREW FARRAN ‘America First’: Strategic Choices
Hasn’t Australia had enough of war and talk of war and armed conflict which has been a constant since Korea, with what gain and at what cost? Drawn into these military conflicts by zealous defence/intelligence/security operatives, their funded think tanks, and susceptible politicians, we have in effect been in the continuous service of the US and its military campaigns on and off for decades. Our involvement and support has cost lives and incurred much expense which in retrospect has achieved very little in the national interest. Afghanistan is a prize example – with areas gained and lost to no recognisable advantage over a period of some 17 years. In the Middle East we have involved ourselves in conflicts that are essentially religious or involve national transitions within areas artificially created as states by colonial powers going back to and before the First World War. The US’s antagonism towards Iran over the nuclear agreement negotiated with the UN Security Council, Germany and the EU (JCPOA), which has been strictly adhered to by Iran but now rejected by the US, is a masquerade intended to provoke conflict there in concert with Saudi Arabia, Israel and some UAE states. If we were to follow the US in this, as we have done in the past, these out of area states would be our allies. Would that be acceptable to the Australian public? Is that what ANZUS is about?



How does Australia go to war?

  • Chapter 1

    Background: Australia’s historical practice in going to war.

    Richard Broinowski

  • Chapter 2

    How did Australia enter the Great War in 1914?

  • Chapter 3

    Anzackery, Anzustry, and the war next time.

  • Chapter 4

    Alliance ideology: the myth of sacrifice and the national security culture.
    Michael McKinley

  • Chapter 5

    Odious comparisons: how Australia and some other countries go to war.
    Alison Broinowski

  • Chapter 6

    The ‘war powers’ in Australia: why reform is needed.
    Paul Barratt

  • Chapter 7

    Issues and options: changing the Constitution and complying with International Law.
    Charles Sampford

  • Chapter 8

    ‘We go to war when our cousins do’: the countries Australia consults.
    Tony Kevin

  • Chapter 9

    Australia’s Middle-Power war-mongering.
    Allan Patience

  • Chapter 10

    To war, like it or not: the ‘joint facilities’, interoperability, and the erasure of independent war powers.
    Richard Tanter

  • Chapter 11

    Parliamentary involvement in the 2003 decision for Iraq War II.
    Margaret Swieringa

  • Chapter 12

    The mission creep to Iraq War III.
    John Menadue

  • Chapter 13

    Ways of Avoiding War: Peacekeeping and Peace Measurement.
    Pera Wells

Download Book

We are very grateful to all the contributors who helped make the publication of this book possible. They include:

David Stephens * Michelle Farran * Peter Jones * David Miller * Carolyn Schofield * Janette McLeod * John Langmore * Lyn Stephens * Paul Barratt * Nick Deane * Peter Wesley-Smith * Vicken Babkenian * Felicity Ruby * Helen Bayes * Julie Kimber * Willy Bach * Julian Cribb * Judith Downey * Tom Sevil * Pera Wells * Carolyn Stone * Helen Catelotti * Claudia Woodroffe * Dawn Emrys * Michael McKinley * Chris OBrien * Jim Kable *John M Courtney * Peter McCawley * Suzanne Langker * Tognetti * Michael and Gail Truter * Bill Williams * Ruth Mitchell * Liz Tearii * Tony Zilles

How did Australian armed forces come to be involved in the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, and why? What were the decision-making processes that led to that commitment? Were those processes adequate in terms of our system of government as we understand it and for the future?


We believe there needs to be an informed public discussion of the lessons to be learned from Australia’s role in the 2003 invasion of Iraq, and improvements to the process by which Australian institutions respond to future conflicts. Sign up here to receive updates from the campaign.

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