Our Agreeable Illusion Ends

Hugh White, ‘Without America. Australia in the new Asia,’ Quarterly Essay 68, Melbourne: Black Inc. 2017

For years Hugh White has contributed knowledgeably to Australia’s defence and foreign policies, while deploring the prevailing feebleness of our public debate about them. With almost no public debate, Australia has for sixteen years been spending $95 million per day on fighting unnecessary wars in distant countries. Having had no independent inquiry into them, it remains a mystery how Australia can avoid similarly counterproductive wars in the future.

Professor White continues to credit the United States with maintaining peace and stability in Asia …

Parliament split on going to war: Remember 2003?

As calls increase for reform of the flawed process by which Australian troops can be sent to war, and in particular for parliamentary debate and vote before ADF deployments to armed conflict, some standard arguments against such decision-making by parliament continue to be offered. They remain unconvincing. The latest articulation of these arguments was made on 30 June 2017 by Dr Anthony Bergin during his lecture entitled “Parliament and national security: Challenges and opportunities,” in the Senate Occasional Lecture Series.

Pleasingly, Dr Bergin acknowledged that parliamentarians are under-utilised in matters of national security, and he contributed useful ideas, especially …

Our 2015 fundraising appeal for the new AWPR book

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 …

Are we about to see another ‘Captains Call’ on Iraq?

Australians for War Powers Reform (AWPR) have expressed concern that the problem of ‘mission creep’ for our troops in Iraq, already in evidence, seems set to escalate, following the NZ Prime Minister John Key’s announcement of the deployment of 143 NZ defence personnel to Iraq.

“Mission creep has been happening since the decision mid-last year to deploy ADF forces to Iraq,” said AWPR President Paul Barratt, former Defence Department secretary. “In August-September 2014, within a matter of weeks, a humanitarian mission to drop relief supplies to fleeing civilians was transformed first into using transport aircraft to deliver arms and …

Andrew Farran to the Minister for Foreign Affairs

On 28 April CIWI’s Treasurer, former diplomat and international law academic Andrew Farran, sent the following letter to the Minister for Foreign Affairs:

Begins

The Hon. Julie Bishop, MP Minister for Foreign Affairs P.O. Box 6022 House of Representatives Parliament House CANBERRA A.C.T. 2600

April 28, 2014

Dear Minister Bishop,

I heard your address at Villers-Bretonneux on Anzac Day and was impressed by its sincerity. War, of course, is a serious business. Even more serious is the decision-making process for getting into war in the first place.

WW1 and WW2 speak for themselves, both in the historical context, and that …

David Kilcullen on the US habit of going to war

The following is an extract of a conversation between ABC presenter Kerry O’Brien and Australian military strategist David Kilcullen, broadcast on the ABC program Four Corners, on the evening of Monday 25 March. Like the Campaign for an Iraq War Inquiry, Kilcullen thinks we should think very carefully before we follow the US into a new war:

KERRY O’BRIEN: Just listening to you talk then about Karzai’s – the position that Karzai was put in essentially by Western forces, had just another eerie echo to me of Vietnam – almost an exact replica of Vietnam despite the fact that so …