Max Walsh on our Presidential political style

By: AWPR | Posted in: Blog | 22 August, 2013 | 5:32 pm

Veteran political journalist Maximilian Walsh, commenting on Opposition Leader Tony Abbott’s paid parental leave scheme that is all his own work and causing much angst within the Liberal Party, says in today’s Australian Financial Review (see here) that the increasingly presidential style of Australia’s leaders has changed the balance of power between the Prime Minister and the Government, allowing them to present policy to the cabinet as a fait accompli.

He is absolutely right, as we saw in the case of the decision to join in the invasion of Iraq. This is one of the many important reasons why …

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Selling the Iraq War

By: AWPR | Posted in: Blog | 21 August, 2013 | 5:30 pm

In the course of reading and research for a paper I am writing in relation to the process by which Australia made the decision to participate in the Iraq War, I came upon an interesting paper by Chaim Kaufmann of Lehigh University, published in the MIT Belfer Centre’s prestigious journal International Security in 2004. It is a solid read but well repays the effort. Its central thesis is that in the case of the Iraq War, and perhaps more generally, the democratic “marketplace of ideas” failed to deal with “threat inflation” and manipulation of public opinion on the part of …

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Letter to The Hon. Warren Truss MP

By: AWPR | Posted in: Blog | 13 August, 2013 | 5:28 pm

Dear Mr Truss

I write to you on behalf of the Campaign for an Iraq War Inquiry to ascertain The Nationals’ policy in the context of the current Federal Election campaign on several matters which are of central importance to our membership.

Our members and supporters would be interested to know your answers to the following questions:

  • Do you believe the Prime Minister should continue to have the authority to take Australia to war on her/his own?
  • Would you support a new bill requiring parliamentary debate and approval before the Australian Defence Force is deployed in overseas combat operations?
  • Do
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    Letter to Senator Christine Milne

    By: AWPR | Posted in: Blog | 13 August, 2013 | 5:26 pm

    Dear Senator Milne

    I write to you on behalf of the Campaign for an Iraq War Inquiry to ascertain The Greens’ policy in the context of the current Federal Election campaign on several matters which are of central importance to our membership.

    Our members and supporters would be interested to know your answers to the following questions:

  • Do you believe the Prime Minister should continue to have the authority to take Australia to war on her/his own?
  • Would you support a new bill requiring parliamentary debate and approval before the Australian Defence Force is deployed in overseas combat operations?
  • Do
  • Read More

    Letter to The Hon. Tony Abbott MP

    By: AWPR | Posted in: Blog | 13 August, 2013 | 5:10 pm

    Dear Mr Abbott

    I write to you on behalf of the Campaign for an Iraq War Inquiry to ascertain the Liberal Party’s policy in the context of the current Federal Election campaign on several matters which are of central importance to our membership.

    Our members and supporters would be interested to know your answers to the following questions:

  • Do you believe the Prime Minister should continue to have the authority to take Australia to war on her/his own?
  • Would you support a new bill requiring parliamentary debate and approval before the Australian Defence Force is deployed in overseas combat operations?
  • Read More

    Letter to The Hon. Kevin Rudd MP

    By: AWPR | Posted in: Blog | 13 August, 2013 | 5:08 pm

    Dear Mr Rudd

    I write to you on behalf of the Campaign for an Iraq War Inquiry to ascertain the Australian Labor Party’s policy in the context of the current Federal Election campaign on several matters which are of central importance to our membership.

    Our members and supporters would be interested to know your answers to the following questions:

  • Do you believe the Prime Minister should continue to have the authority to take Australia to war on her/his own?
  • Would you support a new bill requiring parliamentary debate and approval before the Australian Defence Force is deployed in overseas combat
  • Read More

    Will Australia erode or build trust with Iran?

    By: AWPR | Posted in: Blog | 5 August, 2013 | 5:07 pm

    That is the question posed by our NAJ Taylor in the 15 July edition of The Guardian.

    Noting that Australia has since 2008 imposed autonomous sanctions on Iran since 2008, in addition to the raft of sanctions that have been set by the UN Security Council since 2006, he writes:

    Australian sanctions against Iran must … be considered as an extreme measure to be taken only if efforts in support of regional as well as Iranian denuclearisation come to fail, or if the imminence of Iranian nuclear weapons acquisition demands an immediate response by the Australian government over and above …

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    Five questions for Federal election candidates.

    By: AWPR | Posted in: Blog | 31 July, 2013 | 5:05 pm

    Any day now the Prime Minister will announce the date for the next Federal election. Clearly economic management, the pricing of carbon and asylum seeker policy will be key items in the campaign, but we hope that the parties and the individual candidates will give more than momentary thought to some of the other important long term issues that Australian society faces.

    One issue of critical importance is the process by which we decide to deploy the Australian Defence Force into international armed conflict, which at present is the prerogative of the Executive (Cabinet – effectively the Prime Minister) and …

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    How many Iraqis died?

    By: AWPR | Posted in: Blog | 15 June, 2013 | 5:03 pm

    How many Iraqis died in the US led invasion of 2003 and the subsequent occupation?

    Pakistan-born Glasgow-based sociologist, Muhammad Idrees Ahmad, writing in the UAE journal The National on 5 April 2013, provides some answers – see True costs of Iraq War Whitewashed by fuzzy maths, republished the same day by the UK Stop the War Coalition under the headline No more fuzzy maths: how many died in the Bush-Blair war on Iraq?.

    The most commonly cited source, the UK-based online initiative Iraq Body Count (IBC), uses a passive surveillance method to estimate what it calls “violent civilian …

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    Ending undeclared wars: repeal of authorizing legislation

    By: Richard Tanter | Posted in: Blog | 31 May, 2013 | 5:02 pm

    Michael Krepon has a useful piece at Arms Control Wonk commenting on President Obama’s speech on the use of armed drones for assassinations of alleged Taliban- and Al Qaeda-linked terrorists in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and elsewhere.

    Leaving aside Obama’s attempt in the speech to limit the number of drone killings and tighten the criteria for such actions, Krepon makes an important connection in the argument about both the legality and strategic prudence of drone assassinations by linking the issue back to the foundation legal authority for these killings: the joint resolution of both houses of Congress resulting in the Authorization

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