Media Release: Open letter to Prime Minister Abbott about military action in Syria

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Dear Prime Minister Abbott,

As your government prepares to extend RAAF bombing raids beyond Iraq into Syria, we ask you to reconsider this move before it is too late.

We call on you to hold a debate in Parliament on the impact of bombing on Australia’s national interests and on Syrian civilians, followed by a vote on any proposed military action.

Further, we urge you to seek and publish genuinely independent legal opinion as to the legality of this bombing under international law. This should make clear what Australia’s likelihood of success before the International Court of Justice would be if another party raised arguments against the legality of the bombing. The government should state that it will accept the jurisdiction of the ICJ should any other state seek to sue Australia in this matter. The government should seek a decision of the Federal Executive Council with an accompanying certificate as to the legality of the proposed action under international law.

The government’s objectives in bombing Syria should be made clear and evaluated against our moral obligation to preserve civilian life, together with the prospect that bombing will strengthen Islamic State, and will further divide the Australian community. The implications of a protracted war for Australian service-people and for Australia’s international standing should be canvassed.

Even showing support for the United States in such circumstances is the opposite of what a good ally should do. Australia would serve our common interests better by counselling America against becoming bogged down in another illegal, disastrous war.

Yours sincerely,

Dr Tim Anderson
Senior Lecturer, University of Sydney

Dr Sally Attrill

Tasmanian Branch Coordinator, Medical Association for Prevention of War

Willy Bach

Peace scholar, Stand Fast veterans

Paul Barratt AO

President, Australians for War Powers Reform

Dr Margaret Beavis

President, Medical Association for Prevention of War

Alex Bell

Kay Binet

Jennifer Bond

MEDACT (Tasmanian branch of Medical Association for Prevention of War)

Dr Adam Broinowski

Dr Alison Broinowski

Vice-President, Australians for War Powers Reform

Annette Brownlie

Just Peace, and Independent and Peaceful Australia Network

Richard Butler AC

Nick Deane

Em Prof Bob Douglas AO

Director Australia21, and Visiting Fellow ANU

Dr Helen Caldicott

Andrew Farran

Treasurer, Australians for War Powers Reform

General (Retd) Peter Gration

Former Chief of the ADF

Assoc Professor Chris Hamer

Chairman, Institute for Global Peace and Sustainable Governance

Dr Marianne Hanson

Associate Professor of International Relations, School of Political Science & International Studies, The University of Queensland

Dr Judy Hemming

International Studies and International Development Faculty of Business, Governance and Law, University of Canberra

Dr Ann Kent

Visiting Fellow, ANU College of Law

Dr Bruce Kent

Emeritus Faculty, ANU

Tony Kevin

Dr Daryl Le Cornu

President, World Citizens Association Australia

Associate Professor Jake Lynch
Director, Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, University of Sydney
Executive Member, Sydney Peace Foundation
Senior Research Fellow, School of Communication, University of Johannesburg

Colin MacKenzie

Emeritus Professor Frederick Mendelsohn AO

Medical Association for Prevention of War

Kellie Merritt

Social worker, widow of Flight Lt Paul Pardoel

Dr. Michael McKinley
Australian National University

Prof Rob Moodie AM

Professor of Public Health, University of Melbourne

Dr Douglas Newton


Dr Anne Noonan

NSW Branch Coordinator, Medical Association for Prevention of War

Hon Melissa Parke MP

Federal Labor Member for Fremantle

Allan Patience

Asia Institute, University of Melbourne

Josephine Petrov

Professor Richard Tanter

School of Social and Political Sciences, University of Melbourne

Dr Josephine Topp

FRANZCP, Child and Adolescent psychiatrist

Noel Turnbull

Jo Vallentine

People for Nuclear Disarmament, Perth

Dr Karin von Strokirch

School of Humanities, University of New England, Armidale

Sarah Ann Strong

Dr Sue Wareham OAM

Secretary, Australians for War Powers Reform

Pera Wells

Member of the committee, Australians for War Powers Reform

Susanne Weress

Consultant clinical pharmacist/educator

Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) field worker / Former director of MSF-Australia

Dr Bill Williams

Medical Association for Prevention of War

Dr Alex Wodak AM

President, Australian Drug Law Reform Foundation

Garry Woodard

School of Social and Political Sciences, University of Melbourne

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