We will be at ‘war’ in Syria if the Government assents to the US ‘request’ to bomb in that country. What of the legal and other justifications?

By: AWPR | Posted in: Blog | 26 August, 2015 | 10:54 am

By what process will the authority to bomb in Syria be granted? Will the Solicitor-General be asked to provide legal advice? Will the Governor-General in Council be required to sign off on the decision? Will Parliament have been informed beforehand? That is, will something from the vagaries of previous decision-making over the commitment of our armed forces in conflict abroad have been learned meanwhile?

As to substance, the Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has cited a doctrine of collective self-defence as being the basis for Australian bombing of Syria. Under international law collective self-defence may be justified pursuant to mutual treaty …

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Media Release: Legality of Bombing Syria Does Matter, Mr Abbott.

By: AWPR | Posted in: Blog | 23 August, 2015 | 11:29 pm


August 24, 2015


The Campaign for an Iraq War Inquiry (CIWI) has expressed grave concerns at PM Abbott’s apparent indifference as to whether bombing Syria is legal or not.

The Prime Minister has been quoted as saying, “While there is a little difference between the legalities of air strikes on either side of the border, there’s no difference in the morality.” However the difference between the legalities is both large and important. The Government claims to be operating in Iraq on the basis of an invitation from the Iraqi Government …

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Launch: “How Does Australia Go To War?”

By: AWPR | Posted in: Blog, News | 17 July, 2015 | 10:45 am


Wednesday, June 24, 2015

As concern spreads in Australia about what our latest military intervention in Iraq is for and where it will end, Australians for War Powers Reform (AWPR) is targeting MPs and Senators with a call to change the way our troops are sent to war.

All Federal parliamentarians will receive a book of short essays, “How Does Australia Go To War?”, on the political, military, legal and ethical implications of Australia’s current practice. It points out that in Australia – and in only a few other democracies – the prime minister can decide to commit …

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Containing China – and Australia

By: Alison Broinowski | Posted in: Blog | 21 May, 2015 | 2:36 am

Observers have for several years been noticing that Australia is an increasingly militaristic society. The incremental militarisation of Australian policy goes much further than our current re-deployment in the Middle East. Little by little, our humanitarian programs have been militarised (to ensure delivery of aid), our aid programs have been securitised (to protect aid workers), Federal police have been deployed abroad (to work with other countries against corruption, drug trafficking and people smuggling), and Special Forces ‘training’ Iraqi troops carry diplomatic passports (to get around their status problem with the Iraq government).

National Security has become the new growth industry …

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Kellie Merritt on Australian participation in foreign wars

By: AWPR | Posted in: Blog | 21 May, 2015 | 2:35 am

On the eve of Anzac Day CIWI Committee Member Kellie Merritt, widow of Flight Lt. Paul Pardoel, Australia’s first serviceman to be killed in Iraq during the military operations that began with the March 2003 invasion, gave a powerful presentation at The War to End All Wars: our responsibility to those who died and their families, an event at Deakin Edge, Federation Square, Melbourne hosted by the Medical Association for the Prevention of War (MAPW).

To get the full impact of this presentation you can view it on YouTube.

The full text is below:


My name is Kellie …

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Our 2015 fundraising appeal for the new AWPR book

By: AWPR | Posted in: Blog | 29 April, 2015 | 2:34 am

Today Australians for War Powers Reform launched a fundraising appeal through the crowd sourcing website pozible. The appeal is to enable us to produce and distribute to all members of Federal Parliament​ a new booklet for the campaign, edited by Dr Alison Broinowski and with contributions from a range of authors. our new booklet “HOW DOES AUSTRALIA GO TO WAR?” puts the government’s war powers under the microscope. The publication offers a diverse range of views from Australian experts in foreign affairs, defence, and law. With a foreword by the late Hon Malcolm Fraser, it examines the history of …

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ANZUS minus NZ, again?

By: Alison Broinowski | Posted in: Blog | 26 March, 2015 | 2:32 am

Tony Abbott’s visit to New Zealand on 26 February was carefully coordinated with John Key’s announcement of a Kiwi military deployment to Iraq. At 143 ‘combat-trainers’ it wasn’t as large as the 3500 troops the Australian Prime Minister had proposed on 21 February. But for a while it seemed the New Zealanders had upstaged us by having the agreement of the Baghdad government to their presence on the ground.

Now we discover that the NZ Foreign Minister Murray McCully has gone to Iraq, just as Julie Bishop did in October 2014, to try to secure a Status of Forces …

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Research paper: Britain, Australia, the United States and Agent Orange in the Indochina Wars: Re-defining Chemical-Biological Warfare

By: AWPR | Posted in: Blog | 25 March, 2015 | 2:31 am

A new research paper from Willy Bach, a post-graduate research student at the School of History at the University of Queensland, re-examines “the sanitised history of Agent Orange and other defoliants used in the Indochina War between 1961 and 1974. It begins by reviewing the incomplete and misleading narratives regarding the use of these chemicals, which have occupied and confused the public imagination and the official record.”

The paper, linked recently through Honest History in Australia, notes:

Defoliants were an instrument of imperial power, sophisticated chemical technology applied to peasant societies without risk of retaliation. Given global censure of chemical…

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STATEMENT on the death of Rt. Hon. Malcolm Fraser AC CH

By: AWPR | Posted in: Blog | 20 March, 2015 | 2:30 am

Death of Rt. Hon. Malcolm Fraser AC CH

On this 12th anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, Campaign for an Iraq War Inquiry/Australians for War Powers Reform expresses its deep sorrow at the news of the passing of Australia’s 22nd Prime Minister, Rt. Hon. Malcolm Fraser AC CH.

Mr Fraser was a foundation member of our movement, having attended in early 2012 a meeting in Melbourne which convened to consider how we might best campaign for the establishment of an independent inquiry into the decision-making process that led to Australia’s participation in the 2003 invasion of Iraq, and the relocation …

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AWPR media briefings released ahead of 12th anniversary of invasion of Iraq

By: AWPR | Posted in: Blog | 16 March, 2015 | 2:29 am

Released in the lead up to the 12th anniversary of the war on Iraq in March 2015

the new media briefing kit from Australians for War Powers Reform offers seven papers on issues of importance when considering the question of reforming Australia’s war powers.

The media briefing kit includes:

  • WAR POWERS REFORM: why it’s needed and why now

    This paper argues that under present arrangements, committing the Australian Defence Force to international armed conflict (currently the prerogative of the Executive) is far too easy for such a grave and far-reaching matter

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