Richard Broinowski on Iraq and the War Powers

Letter to the editor of The Canberra Times by IWIG Member Richard Broinowski, published yesterday Sunday 25 November:

I REFER to Paul Malone’s article of November 18 disputing John Howard’s claim that his decision to invade Iraq had strong community support. It had nothing of the sort. The majority of Australians who expressed any opinion were strongly opposed.

On August 16 this year, a group of citizens led by Malcolm Fraser launched an appeal in Parliament House to hold an inquiry into why Australia went to war in Iraq. The appeal was dismissed by Prime Minister Gillard and Defence Minister Smith as old hat, not to be taken seriously. ”Lessons,” they asserted, ”had been learnt.”

But no lessons have been learnt, and our urgency in getting to the bottom of what happened in 2003 is driven by the realisation it could easily happen again: the prime minister of the day could without consulting Parliament commit Australian forces to support an American military action – over Iran, Syria, over territorial disputes in the South China Sea, or somewhere less predictable.

We need an inquiry to raise awareness of this danger. An inquiry should logically lead to revision of the war powers in the constitution so that thorough parliamentary debate takes place first.

Richard Broinowski, Paddington, NSW
See the original here – third letter down on the web page.


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