AWPR Submission: Defence Legislation Amendment (Enhancement of Defence Force Response to Emergencies) Bill 2020

On October 15 AWPR President, Paul Barratt AO made a submission in relation to the Senate Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Legislation Committee’s inquiry into the Defence Legislation Amendment (Enhancement of Defence Force Response to Emergencies) Bill 2020.

In summary, AWPR have the following concerns about the Bill as it stands:

• We would not wish to see the normalisation of military responses to civilian emergencies such asnatural disasters and large-scale accidents• We consider that the calling out of Reserves will add only marginally to the capacity of theDefence Force to give Defence Assistance to the Civil Community (DACC), especially …

ADF Iraq, Afghanistan and Middle East deployments require scrutiny by Parliament. AWPR Open Letter

The recent announcement by the United States Government that it will reduce its armed force numbers in Iraq from 5200 to about 3000 in September, and in Afghanistan from 8400 to about 4300 in coming months, presents an opportunity for Australia to withdraw our much smaller contingents entirely from both countries.

It is difficult to see that they are either welcome or making a useful contribution to Australia’s national security. In January the Iraqi Parliament passed a resolution demanding the withdrawal of foreign troops from Iraq, and this has led to more than usually difficult relations between Iraq and the …

Trump vetoes resolution to curb war powers against Iran

By Paul Barratt AO, President Australians for War Powers Reform

As reported here, on Wednesday 6 May, President Trump vetoed a war powers resolution that would have curbed his ability to direct military action against Iran without Congress’ authorisation.

This is important to all Australians because, in then Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s memorable phrase (August 2017), on matters of national security, Australia and the United States “are joined at the hip”.

This creates a very fragile and dangerous situation for Australia. The US is maintaining a very aggressive posture against Iran, and Australia has deployed HMAS Toowoomba …

Doing things differently

By Dr Alison Broinowski, Vice-President of Australians for War Powers Reform

Australians, like people everywhere, are dying to get back to normal. As long as that doesn’t include actually dying, of course. Most of us are pragmatically prepared to wait the pandemic out, up to a point.

That point had already come, some Australians thought, sooner for them than for others. Kerry Stokes and his wife, fresh off the plane from Aspen, couldn’t wait, not to go into quarantine on Rottnest, but to get back to their rather more comfortable house. Stokes – whose Western Australian media didn’t report it – couldn’t wait …

Letter to the Leader of the Opposition regarding Iran

13 January 2020

Dear Mr Albanese

No War with Iran: No War without Parliament

I write on behalf of Australians for War Powers Reform, an organisation dedicated to achieving Parliamentary involvement in any decision Australia might make to deploy members of the Australian Defence Force into international armed conflict. The purpose of this letter is to convey our concern about the renewed prospect of military action against Iran, and request that you, as Leader of the Australian Labor Party in the Federal Parliament, take a public position that no commitment should be made to support military action against Iran unless …

Letter to the Prime Minister regarding Iran

10 January 2020

Dear Mr Morrison

No War with Iran: No War without Parliament

I refer to my letters of 27 June 2019 and 13 August 2019 on the above matter.

In light of recent developments I write once again on behalf of Australians for War Powers Reform, an organisation dedicated to achieving Parliamentary involvement in any decision Australia might make to deploy members of the Australian Defence Force into international armed conflict. The purpose of this letter is to convey our concern about the renewed prospect of military action against Iran, and request that no commitment be made to …

No war with Iran: No war without parliament

Our correspondence with the Prime Minister regarding Iran, 2019

Letter to the Prime Minister

27 June 2019

Dear Mr Morrison

I write on behalf of Australians for War Powers Reform, an organisation dedicated to achieving Parliamentary involvement in any decision Australia might make to deploy members of the Australian Defence Force into international armed conflict. The purpose of this letter is to convey our concern about the prospect of military action against Iran.

Australia has no quarrel with the government of Iran, which since 2015 has fully observed the terms of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), as verified

Should Australia be doing arms deals with Saudi Arabia?

Boys hold missile shrapnel they collected from the site of a Saudi-led airstrike in Sanaa, Yemen. Canberra-made weapons are being sold to the Saudi Arabian government. Photograph: Khaled Abdullah/Reuters

The war in Yemen is again in the headlines following an airstrike outside a rural hospital in Yemen’s north west last week which the BBC reports killed at least eight people, five of them children, and injured eight others.

Public pressure continues on Western governments to cease supplying the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates with weapons. This pressure is intensifying in the UK, as its weapons are …

Time to judge our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan

The Somme Villers-Bretonneux Australian National War Memorial. Photo: Alamy (via Fairfax)

Reports of alleged breaches of the laws of war by Australian special forces in Afghanistan have drawn attention again to the length of the war itself and its apparent ultimate futility.

A feature of commentary on these breaches is how their severity increases the longer troops are in sustained combat, as they become shrouded in the ‘fog of war’ where the legal commitment assumes a certain relativity and the morality of the commitment becomes frayed – as does the ANZAC ideal of 100 years ago.

“Legal ambiguity at the …

The Con

Australian troops waiting for US Army helicopters to return to base in Nui Dat, South Vietnam, August 1967. Image: Michael Coleridge via Wikimedia Commons

Metaphorically, if society resembles a rug, then certainly ‘we’ are not supposed to peek under it, to check out the weave, to gain some specific insight or understanding into the makeup of the official picture, or pattern on top.

Historically, this ‘official picture’ con has been going on for some time; certainly by WW1 it was peaking with the citizens of many nations indoctrinated/incited into killing one another like never before; by a few empowered nutters …