Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
The war against al Qaeda, JI and terrorism does not of itself justify a pre-emptive strike against Iraq, Prime Minister.\n



Download PDFDownload PDF

KEVIN RUDD M.P. Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs

[02-196]

MEDIA RELEASE

THE WAR AGAINST AL QAEDA, JI AND TERRORISM DOES NOT OF ITSELF JUSTIFY A PRE-EMPTIVE STRIKE AGAINST IRAQ, PRIME MINISTER

The war against al Qaeda, Jemaah Islamiah and terrorism does not of itself justify Australian military participation in any pre-emptive strike against Iraq.

The Prime Minister was right to say in Parliament yesterday it is a “horror scenario” for terrorists to obtain weapons of mass destruction.

However the Prime Minister is wrong if by that he means the current war against terrorism -in which Australia is a participant - therefore of itself justifies Australian military support for a US pre-emptive strike against Iraq.

The Prime Minister has now on two occasions used a form of words that is being interpreted by some as meaning the war against terrorism justifies pre-emptive action against Iraq.

For example, the front page of today’s Adelaide Advertiser is headlined “Next stop Iraq.” The Advertiser bases its headline on the Prime Minister’s remarks in Parliament on the provision of WMD to terrorists.

This interpretation has also been reflected in other newspaper reporting across Australia today. I would be interested to know if the Prime Minister’s office has briefed these and other media outlets as to whether the interpretation they have placed on these remarks is accurate.

If the Prime Minister is in possession of evidence establishing that Iraq has provided WMD to terrorists, he should make this information available to the Federal Opposition.

Thus far we have not been provided with any such intelligence.

If that situation has changed, the Prime Minister should inform the Opposition. He should also inform the Opposition if he is in possession of any evidence suggesting that Iraq (which has had WMD for over a decade) is now likely to provide these weapons to terrorist organisations.

Future action on Iraq currently lies with the UN Security Council under Resolution 1441. It is hoped by all that the Security Council’s weapons inspectors will be able to achieve Iraq’s disarmament by peaceful means.

Ends 15 November 2002

For further information contact: Kevin Rudd, MP on 0418 796 931 or Alister Jordan on 0417 605 823