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Wednesday, 3 March 2004
Page: 20717


Senator BROWN (3:37 PM) —I move:

That this bill be now read a second time.

I seek leave to have the second reading speech incorporated in Hansard.

Leave granted

The speech read as follows—

INVASION OF IRAQ ROYAL COMMISSION (RESTORING PUBLIC TRUST IN GOVERNMENT) BILL 2004 [NO. 2]

Never before 2003, in Australia's history, has a Prime Minister sent our defence forces to war on the basis of wrong information. So serious was the failure of intelligence and/or misuse by government of intelligence information leading up to the invasion of Iraq in 2003 that a Royal Commission of inquiry is warranted.

The report of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on ASIO, ASIS and DSD into intelligence on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, tabled on 1 March 2004, has not answered the questions as to how or why our nation was misinformed in the lead up to the war. Its report raised new questions. The conclusion that a retired intelligence agent should inquire further into intelligence agencies is unsatisfactory—such an inquiry would be unlikely to either appear independent or be independent. A judicial inquiry with the power to subpoena people and papers—including from both government and the intelligence agencies—is necessary.

The inquiry should be thorough. However, there is provision in this bill for an interim report to be published should an election intervene on its proceedings.

I seek leave to continue my remarks later.

Leave granted; debate adjourned.