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Election 22 – War Powers Reform

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This election is about more than two well-known men in suits saying familiar things. It’s about transparency, accountability, the climate crisis, and particularly, the next war.

But the major parties avoid those big, contentious issues, even after the Defence Minister can’t conceive that Australia will not go to war over Taiwan if the US does. That could be in the life of the next government.

Clearly, the way Australia goes to war should change. More than 80 percent of Australians want the war powers of the executive to change.

Now, the Prime Minister can decide to dispatch the troops virtually alone. His predecessors have done this repeatedly with disastrous results. If our next war is against China, another disaster is inevitable.

So what do our politicians think? Michael West Media began asking them last year, ‘Do you believe Parliamentary approval should be sought before Australians troops are sent into armed conflict abroad?’ They recorded those in favour of war powers reform, those against, and those who didn’t respond.

Here are the results, to April this year:


In favour of reform:


Kenneth O’Dowd


Anne Aly


Adam Bandt, Senator Jordan Steele-John, Senator Peter Whish Wilson, Senator Nick McKim, Senator Janet Rice, Senator Rachel Siewert, Senator Lidia Thorpe


Andrew Wilkie, Zali Steggall, Senator Rex Patrick


Bob Katter KAP, Rebekah Sharkie CA, Senator Stirling Griff CA

Don’t support reform but want an inquiry:

ALP: Josh Wilson, Julian Hill, Robert Mitchell, Susan Templeman

IND: Helen Haines

Against reform:


Andrew Gee, Peter Dutton, Senator Fawcett, Senator Eric Abetz, Senator Jim Molan


Brendan O’Connor, Nick Champion, Meryl Swanson

No comment or non-committal:


Bridget Archer, Karen Andrews, John Alexander, Kevin Andrews, Katie Allen, Karen Andrews, Andrew Hastie, Melissa Price, Angie Bell, Senator David Van


Matt Keogh, Lisa Chester, Kate Thwaites, Libby Coker, James Chalmers, Brendan O’Neill, Penny Wong, Bill Shorten, Terri Butler, Anthony Albanese, David Smith, Graham Perrett, Catryna Bilyk, Tanya Plibersek, Senator Raffael Ciccione


Larissa Waters


Craig Kelly UAP, Pauline Hanson PHP, Senator Jacqui Lambie.



At this election, some 90 independents are candidates. Australians for War Powers Reform has met with several of the new ones and has asked many for their views. Here are the results, to date:

In favour of reform:

Despi O’Connor, Jo Dyer, Dr Sarah Russell, Carolyn (Caz) Heise, Pennie Scott, Alex Dyson, Victor Kline (TNL)


Kylea Tink, Zoe Daniel, Georgia Steele, Allegra Spender, Dr Sophie Scamps, Dr Monique Ryan, Linda Seymour, Jane Caro, Claire Ferres Miles.

Against reform or no response:

Rob Priestly, Kate Chaney, Deb Leonard, Penny Ackery, Suzi Holt, Natalie Baini, Nicolette Boele, Kate Hook.

For the Senate: David Pocock, ACT, Susan Benedyka VIC, Kim Rubenstein ACT.


  • By Alison Broinowski, AWPR President


This Post Has One Comment

  1. Michael Flynn

    Kim Rubenstein ACT independent Kim 4 Canberra Party candidate for the Senate is listed as against reform or no response. If Kim is elected I hope she will give us a considered response and support reform. Kim might share her opinion with us in an article. She could shift the views of Penny Wong!
    We have Canberrans who follow policy debate and know the reality of war.

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