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Senate to reject government motion.



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Senator Andrew Bartlett Leader of the Australian Democrats Spokesperson for Environment and Animal Welfare

18 March 2003 MEDIA RELEASE 03/153

Senate to reject Government Motion

The Australian Democrats today indicated that the Government’s motion supporting Australia’s involvement in the war against Iraq will be rejected by the Senate.

It is almost certainly the first time the Australian Parliament has explicitly opposed the military deployment of Australian troops to war.

Democrats leader Senator Andrew Bartlett today said there were clearly alternatives to Australia joining the illegal and unjust war.

“John Howard and the Government need to show backbone and act in the best interest of Australians,” he said.

The amendments moved by Senator Bartlett and Senator Faulkner follow:

Amendment by Senator Faulkner to the Government motion:

Omit all words, substitute:

“the Senate:

a) insists that Iraq must disarm under the authority of the United Nations;

b) believes that in the absence of an agreed UN Security Council Resolution authorising military action against Iraq, there is no basis for military action to disarm Iraq, including action involving the Australian Defence Force;

c) insists that there should be no commitment of Australian troops to a war in Iraq outside the authority of the United Nations;

d) concludes that Australian involvement in a war in Iraq without UN authorisation is not in Australia’s national interests nor in the interests of maintaining international peace and security; and

e) expresses its confidence in our servicemen and women and our full support for them and their families.”

Additional amendment moved by Senator Bartlett on behalf of the Australian Democrats:

Add:

“(f) is of the view that the decision of the Australian Government to commit Australian troops to an invasion of Iraq is not authorised under international law;

(g) expresses opposition to the decision of the Cabinet and the President of the USA to commit troops to an imminent attack on Iraq; and

(h) calls for the Australian troops to be withdrawn and returned home immediately; and

i) calls on the Australian and United States Government to continue the policy of containment and disarmament through weapons inspections under the existing United Nations Security Council authority, as proposed by the governments of France, Germany and Russia.”

A vote on the motion is expected tomorrow.

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