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Wednesday, 11 August 2004
Page: 2071

Mr BEAZLEY (2:23 PM) —My question is to the Prime Minister. Given his repudiation of Malcolm Turnbull's claim that the Iraq war was an error, has the Prime Minister seen Malcolm Turnbull's statement issued yesterday in which he says:

I think Australia's decision to support Bush was correct.

Then he goes on:

The correctness of our government's decision does not depend on the wisdom of Bush's decision.

Does the Prime Minister support this new Turnbull doctrine that we must support our allies even if we think they are wrong? Isn't it the role of a true ally not to follow its friends into a mistake but to try to convince them that they are making a mistake?

Mr HOWARD (Prime Minister) —The endorsed Liberal candidate for Wentworth has indicated his support for the government's position on Iraq.

Opposition members interjecting—

Mr HOWARD —I will say this about the—

The SPEAKER —The member for Brisbane!

Mr HOWARD —endorsed Liberal candidate for Wentworth: unlike the endorsed Labor Party candidate for Herbert, he knows that when you promise to bring the troops home by Christmas you mean Christmas 2004 and not Christmas 2005 or 2006.

But I am rather pleased that somebody from the opposition has asked me a question about Iraq and about policy on Iraq, because it allows me to say a few things about the good news that is coming out of Iraq—the good news. And isn't it appropriate, Mr Speaker, that I am asked about Iraq and good news on the eve of the Olympic Games, because for the first time a team from a free Iraq will contribute in the Olympic Games. I am rather proud of the fact that it was an ADF—

The SPEAKER —I warn the member for Brisbane!

Mr HOWARD —Mr Speaker, I repeat: it was an ADF C130 that was able to bring the team out of Baghdad last weekend and send them on their way to Athens. And we can be proud of one further thing—that when this team returns to Iraq after the Olympic Games, unlike other international teams from that country that went abroad during the Saddam Hussein era, they will not be within the not very tender clutches of Uday Hussein, whose reputation for dealing with—

Mr Beazley —Mr Speaker, I rise on a point of order. Our defence forces are doing a fine job, but my question goes to relevance.

The SPEAKER —The member for Maranoa and the member for Canning! The member for Brand has the call.

Mr Beazley —My point of order goes to relevance. We are asking about a new doctrine. We asked the Prime Minister specifically whether it was the role of a true ally to follow its friends into a mistake rather than convince them that they were making one. That was the question. This has got nothing to do with it.

The SPEAKER —The member for Blair is warned! The Prime Minister was asked a question—

Mr Rudd —You admire the member for Brand, Alex.

The SPEAKER —The Minister for Foreign Affairs and the member for Griffith are mutually warned! The Prime Minister was asked a question about the conflict in Iraq and support for the war. The member for Brand has been in the House longer than I have and knows perfectly well that under the relevance rule the Prime Minister is in order.

Mr HOWARD —As I was saying, for the first time, an Olympic team from free Iraq will compete—

Mr HOWARD —and, irrespective of how they perform—

Mr HOWARD —they will know that they can go back to their country without being bashed up by the dictator's son.

The SPEAKER —The member for Fowler will excuse herself from the chamber.

Mrs Irwin —What for?

The SPEAKER —Persistent interjections.

Mrs Irwin —Rubbish.

The SPEAKER —The member for Fowler is named.

Mr ABBOTT (Warringah—Leader of the House) (2.28 p.m.)—I move:

That the member for Fowler be suspended from the service of the House.