You are currently viewing Open letter to the Prime Minister of Australia – 19 May 2021

Open letter to the Prime Minister of Australia – 19 May 2021

With multiple military and defence commentators offering increasingly bleak assessments of the possibility of armed conflict, now is the time to carefully consider Australia’s position.

Australian military forces are to be withdrawn from the 20-year conflict in Afghanistan that produced indifferent results at great cost. Repeating the experience now with another such deployment is neither rational nor necessary.

A major war today would be very different from past wars. Today a single weapon can cause massive destruction of life and property and permanent contamination of the environment. No current threat to Australia justifies taking such a risk.

The human and financial costs involved in deploying troops overseas are immense and require sound decision making and clear, realistic goals.

In the past these life and death decisions have been made without reference to the views and wisdom of the wider community as expressed by its representatives in Parliament. The way in which governments decided on military interventions in the past will not do for the future.

If a new proposed deployment becomes a reality, the reasons for it should be fully disclosed before any decision is taken by the Prime Minister and the executive.

The stakes are too high for another ill-judged decision by the Prime Minister alone, as we saw with Iraq and Afghanistan.

Australia should not automatically follow U.S. foreign policy priorities.

Our defence and foreign policies should be fully independent and based on our own best interests.

To ensure this, the House of Representatives and the Senate must have a considered debate followed by a vote on any proposed involvement by Australia in another overseas war.


Dr Chris Aulich – Retired Professor of Public Administration, University of Canberra

Greg Barns SC – Former National President, Australian Lawyers Alliance

The Honourable Emeritus Professor Peter Baume AC DistFRSN

Andrew Bartlett – Former Senator

Allan Behm – Director, International & Security Affairs program, The Australia Institute

Professor Frank Bongiorno AM

Susan Biggs – Sydney Peace Foundation

Dr Alison Broinowski AM -Former diplomat

Richard Broinowski AO – Former diplomat

Dr David Brophy – Senior Lecturer in Modern Chinese History, University of Sydney

Dr Scott Burchill – Senior Lecturer Deakin University

Richard Butler AC – Former Ambassador to the United Nations, Chief UN weapons inspector in Iraq

Helen Caldicott – Founding President, Physicians for Social Responsibility, 1985 Nobel Peace Prize

Emeritus Professor Joseph A. Camilleri OAM – La Trobe University

Dr Susan Carland – Monash University

Dr Eileen Chanin – Author

Joe Collins – Australia West Papua Association

Paul Daley – Author & journalist

Professor Phillip Deery – Historian

Andrew Farran – Former diplomat, law academic and currently company director

Professor Raelene Frances AM -Dean and professor of history, ANU

Bill Gammage – Humanities Research Centre, ANU

Sam Gazal – Company Director

Bruce Haigh – Former diplomat and political commentator

Michael Hamel-Green – Emeritus Professor, College of Arts & Education, Victoria University

Professor John Hewson – ANU

Dr Marianne Hanson – DPhil Oxon. Associate Professor of International Relations, University of Queensland

John Hughes (PhD. FAHA) – Filmmaker, Adjunct Professor RMIT 

Brendon Kelson – Director, Australian War Memorial, 1990-1994

Tony Kevin – Author and former senior Australian diplomat

Dr Julie Kimber – Senior lecturer, Swinburne University

Dr Kristine Klugman OAM -President Civil Liberties Australia

Mary Kostakidis – Journalist

Professor Marilyn Lake AO, FAHA, FASSA – Professorial Fellow in History, University of Melbourne.

Antony Loewenstein – Independent journalist, author and film-maker

Ian Lincoln – Former diplomat

Scott Ludlam – Former Senator

Gavin McCormack – Emeritus Professor ANU

Dr Michael McKinley – International relations expert

Dr Ross McMullin – Historian and biographer

John Menadue AO – Publisher

Kellie Merritt – Widow of Flight Lt Paul Pardoel, killed in Iraq

Rachel Miller – Author

Geoff Miller AO – Former Australian diplomat.

Professor Rob Moodie AM – School of Population and Global Health, University of Melbourne

Clover Moore – Lord Mayor of Sydney

Douglas Newton – Historian

Tim O’Connor – Amnesty International Australia

Sally O’Neill – Historical Researcher, Australian Dictionary of Biography, ANU, retired.

Bob O’Neill – Professor of Strategic and Defence Studies Emeritus, ANU

Tony Palfreeman – International relations expert

Melissa Parke – Former Minister for International Development

Hon. MA Pembroke

Dr Carolyn Rasmussen – Historian and biographer

Professor Henry Reynolds – Historian

Dr Jamal Rifi AO – Muslim community leader and GP

Henry Rosenbloom – Publisher, Scribe Publications

Tilman Ruff AO – Co-President, International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War

Founding Chair, International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons

Professor Charles Sampford, DPhil Oxon – Barrister at Law, Foundation Dean of Law and Director, Institute for Ethics, Governance and Law 

Professor Ben Saul – Challis Chair of International Law, University of Sydney

Professor Bruce Scates – Professor of History, ANU

Professor Peter Stanley, FAHA – UNSW Canberra

Professor Richard Tanter – School of Political and Social Science, University of Melbourne.

Kellie Tranter – Lawyer and human rights activist

Robert Tickner AO – Ambassador for ICAN Australia (International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons)

Former Government Minister 

Peter Timmins – Australian Press Council Press Freedom Medal 2017

Noel Turnbul – Honorary Doctor of Communication RMIT University

Dr Sue Wareham OAM – President, Medical Association for Prevention of War

Ernst Willheim – Visiting Fellow ANU College of Law

Read some of our media coverage

Stakes are too high: Open letter to PM over ‘irresponsible’ war talk




This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Dr Vacy Vlazna

    I’ll sign!

  2. John Smith

    I served for 20 years in the RAAF. Most of the members of the RAAF voted Liberal as the perception was the Liberals spent a lot more on defence and Labour was most likely spend less and disband a squadron or a battelion.

    When John Howard decided to send troups into Irac (on an obvious lie ie. wepons of mass destruction) I woke up to myself and decided to never vote LNP again.

    I will never forgive the three Bs (Bush, Blair, and the little bastard)

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