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The 20th anniversary of the Iraq War – Sunday March 19

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AWPR Media Release

As we remember the start of the disastrous Iraq invasion, twenty years ago, we must also learn the lessons of that illegal intervention and reform Australia’s war powers.

The laws that allowed John Howard to send Australian troops to Iraq without parliamentary approval are still on the books and could be used again, regardless of public opinion.

“John Howard’s fateful decision was a “captain’s call” and despite strong public opposition and a vote against the deployment in the Senate, he went ahead with his plan,” said Dr Alison Broinowski AM, former diplomat and President of Australians for War Powers Reform.

“The decision to invade Iraq was a tragedy which took hundreds of thousands of lives and led to an explosion of violence in several other countries. It was also an illegal war under international law.”

“In the UK, a wide ranging inquiry was undertaken which resulted in the Chilcot Report, but here in Australia no one has been held to account over the war and no legislative changes have been made.”

“It is way beyond time that we reformed our war powers so that going to war overseas is debated and decided by all MPs and Senators in the Federal Parliament. It’s time to ditch the captain’s call.”

Dr Alison Broinowski is available for interview.

Also available for interview is author and activist Donna Mulhearn.

Donna has been to Iraq five times. She did aid work with street kids and displaced families, human rights observing and was an eyewitness to the massacre of Fallujah in April 2004.

She co-authored the book “The Sacking of Fallujah: A People’s History” and wrote her own memoir “Ordinary Courage, My Journey to Baghdad as a Human Shield.”

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