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Letter to The Hon. Kevin Rudd MP

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The Hon. Kevin Rudd MP
c/- ALP National Secretariat
Unit 5, 9 Sydney Avenue

Dear Mr Rudd

I refer to my letter of 13 August 2013 seeking, on behalf of the Campaign for an Iraq War Inquiry, to ascertain the Australian Labor Party’s policy in the context of the current Federal Election campaign on several matters which are of central importance to our membership.

In that connection, I write to commend the comments attributed to you in today’s edition of The Age, connection with recent developments in Syria, to the effect that we need to be mindful of wrong decisions made in the past in relation to Iraq, leading to Australian and other governments went into armed conflict “based on … something that was entirely incorrect”. Calling for a “calm and measured response” to the allegations of a chemical attack in Syria, you (correctly in our view) state that no one should rush to a conclusion that the regime in Syria has used chemical weapons “until we have the definitive report from UN weapons inspectors”.

The comments attributed to you as noted above lead us to conclude that you would certainly be in agreement with at least part of our Campaign’s agenda, so I write again to urge you to let our members and supporters, as well as the general public, have your answers to the following questions as set out in my letter of 13 August:

  1. Do you believe the Prime Minister should continue to have the authority to take Australia to war on her/his own?
  2. Would you support a new bill requiring parliamentary debate and approval before the Australian Defence Force is deployed in overseas combat operations?
  3. Do you support taking ANZUS back to its

(a)   Original obligation of consultations (not automatic military action);

(b)   Original geography (the Pacific area); and

(c)  Original purpose (defence against an armed attack)?

  1.  Do you support Article 1 of the ANZUS Treaty which obliges Australia “to refrain… from the threat or use of force in any manner inconsistent with the purposes of the United Nations”? Would you support legislation to require UN authorisation for Australia to go to war other than in response to an armed attack?
  2. The United States, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Denmark have each initiated a public inquiry into their involvement in the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Do you support a review of the process by which the Australian Government decided to join the invasion, in order to determine whether the process was satisfactory?
  3. Do you believe that Australia should defer to the established international channels for WMD verification, monitoring and compliance?

I realise that considered answers to some of these questions might require more time for careful reflection than would be available to you in the limited time remaining before election day, but they are important questions and we would appreciate whatever insights or in-principle guidance you might feel able to give us in order to enable us to evaluate your policy thinking about these important matters ahead of the election.

Yours sincerely,

Paul Barratt


The article in today’s edition of The Age to which reference is made above may be found at

Kevin Rudd calls for caution on Syria.

Originally published by AWPR, 26 August, 2013 | 5:33 pm

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