Jan 29, 2003

Australian troops shouldn’t be sent to Iraq

AUSTRALIAN TROOPS SHOULDN’T BE SENT TO IRAQ

MEDIA RELEASE: Anthony Albanese – 29 January 2003

This week I have written to my electorate outlining my opposition to the deployment of Australian troops to the Gulf ahead of any determination by the United Nations that military action against Iraq is required.

Instead of the Prime Minister escalating his war rhetoric, I believe that he should be fully supporting the UN’s efforts to achieve the peaceful disarmament of Iraq. The UN inspection teams currently in Iraq must be given the time they need to complete their task.

Any action against the Iraqi Government must be endorsed by the United Nations’ Security Council and taken in consultation with Iraq’s neighbours.

I support our service personnel but not the decision by the Prime Minister to send them to the Gulf. There is absolutely no justification for putting the men and women of our armed forces in harms way.

By sending our troops to the region, the Government has guaranteed Australia will be at war, if it occurs. This is happening without a vote of the Parliament and without the support of the Australian people.

It is not in Australia’s national interest for the Prime Minister to have signed us up to a US-led war.

Only collective international action has the potential to bring lasting peace, security and democracy to all the people of world.

The Walk Against the War Coalition is organising a demonstration in Hyde Park North for 12 noon on Sunday, 16 February. I encourage all members of our community to join with me and local State Labor Members Andrew Refshauge and Sandra Nori on the day to demonstrate their opposition to a US-led war against Iraq.