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 …

Kellie Merritt on Australian participation in foreign wars

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:

Begins

My name is Kellie …

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 …

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

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

    Read More >

  • AUSTRALIA’S PROCESS FOR GOING TO WAR

Creepy Mission

So to no-one’s surprise, the Prime Minister says we are now in the ‘next phase’ of the fight against whatever it’s called. ISIS, ISIL, IS, Daesh, you name it, has recently become a ‘death cult which is reaching out to us here in this country’. So the Martin Place siege proves the death cult is here among us, and hence that we are defending Australia.

In fact, it is an opportunistic minority Sunni assault on the Shia government of Iraq, a country divided in three by ancient religious differences and modern power politics.

What interest has Australia (or New Zealand) …

Media release: No Clear Mission – No SOFA?

MEDIA RELEASE

WEDNESDAY 4 MARCH, 2015

No clear mission – no SOFA?

Following Prime Minister Abbott’s announcement of additional troops for Iraq, Australians for War Powers Reform (AWPR) have expressed serious concern at the lack of clearly articulated goals that will be met by the deployments.   While the PM has denied any ‘mission creep’, this is exactly what is happening, with our role in Iraq having evolved significantly since August-September last year.

AWPR President and former Defence Department head Paul Barratt said,

“Step by step Australia is being drawn into a vicious sectarian war of enormous complexity, with no apparent …

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 …

Are we again on the brink of further “Mission Creep” in Iraq?

In his 2015 State of the Union address President Obama noted that Iraq War No 3 (not his term) “will take time”, meaning there is no end in sight. But what is it that  will take time? What would be its end? Does anyone have any realistic idea about that given that a militant cancer is spreading throughout the Middle East?

The US has recently committed a further 3,000 troops to Iraq though officially their ‘combat roles’ are confined to air strikes in Iraq and Syria. It is not hard to envisage that before the US can reduce troop levels …

A world of no-go zones?

As the population of our ‘global village’ grows to more than 7.22 billion and mega-cities multiply, the world’s wilderness withers, agricultural land shrinks, oceans become waste dumping grounds, and former industrial sites are reduced to polluted, decaying wastelands. The climate warms and sea levels rise. Humans have rendered many areas in the world no longer accessible for humans.

These areas are ‘no-go zones’, as the lawless streets of Boston were known in the 1980s. The same term applied to Redfern’s Block in the 1990s and parts of Birmingham in the noughties. It is true of Ferguson in the mid-2010s, and …

Letter to the Attorney-General

In Reply on behalf of the Attorney-General I presented the text of a letter of 18 June received from Mr Paul O’Sullivan, Chief of Staff to the Attorney-General, Senator the Hon. George Brandis QC.

Below is the text of my reply:

Begins

4 July 2014

Senator the Hon. George Brandis, QC Attorney-General Parliament House CANBERRA ACT 2600

Dear Senator Brandis,

I refer to a letter of 18 June 2014 I have received from Mr Paul O’Sullivan, your Chief of Staff, writing on your behalf in response to my letter to you of 16 May.

In his letter Mr O’Sullivan states …