The Guardian • Issue #2048

War Powers

Albanese Rejects Change

  • The Guardian
  • Issue #2048

Anti-war rally in Sydney, 2003.

A parliamentary report released 31st March on War Powers has failed to recommend the genuine reform many in the community expect.

“The first recommendation confirms our worst fears – it reaffirms the status quo by insisting that decisions regarding armed conflict are fundamentally up to the PM and the executive,” said Dr Alison Broinowski AM, President of Australians for War Powers Reform (AWPR)

“This means that MP’s and Senators will continue to have no right to vote on a war decision before troops are sent overseas.”

“In effect this means that the Prime Minister and a small group of ministers will still make the decisions just as John Howard did in 2003 with his ‘captain’s call’ on going to Iraq.”

“This inquiry has made these recommendations despite the fact that the overwhelming majority of submissions favoured giving MPs a vote. There were 94 submissions in favour out of a total of 111 submissions.”

“While some of the recommendations are welcome, such as the requirement that parliament must be given a statement of compliance with international law about military action, such advice is not much use if parliamentarians are only ‘consulted.’ ”

“The sad fact is that even if the Albanese government accepted all of the committee’s recommendations, Australia could still be sent to a “war of choice” overseas, and our elected representatives – MPs and Senators, would have almost no say.”

“AWPR had great hopes that after more than a decade of coalition rule the new Albanese government would bring progressive change to defence and foreign affairs. But [this] decision, along with the AUKUS agreement and the decision to spend an obscene amount of money on nuclear submarines, has well and truly dashed those hopes.”

The Guardian can also be viewed/downloaded in PDF format. View More