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Double standards by the Howard Government on informing the Australian Parliament and people on the case for war against Iraq.



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KEVIN RUDD M.P. Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs

[02-145]

MEDIA RELEASE

DOUBLE STANDARDS BY THE HOWARD GOVERNMENT ON INFORMING THE AUSTRALIAN PARLIAMENT AND PEOPLE ON THE CASE FOR WAR AGAINST IRAQ

Yesterday Prime Minister John Howard told the Parliament he believed it was premature for there to be either a Prime Ministerial statement on the Government's case for a war against Iraq or a parliamentary debate based on such a statement.

Today Foreign Minister Downer has agreed to make a statement to the Coalition party room on Australia's policy on Iraq and for a debate within the party room based on his statement.

This is an unacceptable double standard by the Howard Government on a matter of the highest national importance - namely whether or not the Government is planning for this country to go to war and the reasons for doing so.

Furthermore, Mr Downer said in July that the following few months would be critical in determining whether or not a decision should be made on military action against Iraq.

The Australian people want to be informed of the Government’s thinking on this question. They do not want their Government's thinking to be kept secret within the confines of an internal meeting of the Liberal and National Parties in Canberra.

The Australian people elect the Australian Parliament and hold their Government accountable for its actions.

I call upon the Prime Minister to review his decision to refuse a parliamentary debate within the next fortnight and to proceed with a statement on the case for war against Iraq and allow a debate to occur based on that statement next week.

Ends 20 August 2002

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