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So Mr Downer wants a debate about International Humanitarian Intervention.

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Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Security


Mr Downer has a habit of being loose with the truth on national security.

He is now developing a habit of being loose with the truth on foreign policy as well.

Today Mr Downer complained about the absence of Australian debate on the doctrine of international humanitarian intervention.

Not for want of trying on our part, Mr Downer. On my first day in Canberra as Shadow Foreign Minister I participated in a debate at the national press club with Mr Downer explicitly on international humanitarian intervention.

In the intervening two years I have raised the doctrine of international humanitarian intervention explicitly at least on ten separate occasions.

Furthermore in the Ron Castan lecture last year which dealt with international humanitarian intervention, I stated: “we need to review Article 24 (of the UN Charter) and the emerging doctrine of international humanitarian intervention.”

And more than two years later, Mr Downer finally has a thought bubble and announces that Gareth Evans in 2001 released a report of the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty which dealt with how international humanitarian intervention might be advanced under international law.

Mr Downer knows the Government did not apply this doctrine to Iraq. Nor did not have the authority of the UN Security Council to do what it did in Iraq. It relied instead on pre-emptive military action - an action which the Liberal Chairman of the Parliamentary Inquiry on Iraq recently concluded was not justified under international law.

If Mr Downer is now finally serious about humanitarian intervention, let him put the Government’s specific proposals on the table and allow a genuine debate to take place.

Media contact: Alister Jordan 0417 605 823

Ends. 10 March 2004