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Labor candidate cuts and runs from Latham's Iraq policy.

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July 7 2004

Labor candidate cuts and runs from Latham’s Iraq Policy

Labor Leader Mark Latham’s disastrous “Troops out by Christmas” policy has been shunned by Labor’s candidate in a key marginal seat.

Anita Phillips, ALP candidate for the Queensland seat of Herbert, has tried to extend the role of Australian troops under a Latham Government by at least an extra year.

Perhaps Ms Phillips is mindful of the large number of proud Australian Defence Force personnel in the Herbert electorate. Perhaps she realises they would see Mr Latham’s policy-on-the-run as lacking credibility.

On Townsville’s Seven Network news last week, Ms Phillips provided this new version of Labor’s Iraq policy:

“I think it’s still a long time ‘til Christmas, and I don’t know if Latham ever said which Christmas.”

When he visits Townsville this week, Mr Latham should take the opportunity to explain to his candidate exactly which Christmas he was talking about. He should also go and explain his cut and run policy to the troops at Lavarack Barracks.

While he is at it, he should make a detailed explanation to the Australian public on his Iraq policy. He should explain:

• Which troops he will withdraw and when.

• How terrorists would be defeated in Iraq without foreign troops providing security.

• How Australia’s embassy will operate without protection.

• Why he is out of step with both sides of politics in the United States, both sides of politics in the United Kingdom and with the firm views of the Iraqi Interim Government and, by all accounts, the majority of the Iraqi people.

• Why he has never bothered to get a briefing on Australia’s involvement in Iraq.

Before Mr Latham leaves Townsville he should ensure his candidate understands Labor policy and either publicly endorses it or stands aside. Media Inquiries: Chris Kenny 0419 206 890