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.

10 January 2020 Why are Australian forces still in Iraq?
Read Alison Broinowski’s column in the Sydney Morning Herald
“The Prime Minister should make clear to President Trump that Australia, which respects international law, will not join any illegal war against Iran –
and that we do not regard the current situation as having anything to do with the ‘war on terror.’ The US always needs a coalition for war:
if its allies refuse to join, war may be avoided.”



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

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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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