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Senate should support inquiry - Australian people must be heard on Iraq attack.

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Senator Andrew Bartlett Australian Democrats Defence Spokesperson

15 September 2002 MEDIA RELEASE 02/443

Senate should support inquiry -Australian people must be heard on Iraq attack

The Australian Democrats welcome the results of surveys showing that most Australians do not support the nation being involved in a unilateral military action against Iraq.

Democrats’ Defence spokesperson, Senator Andrew Bartlett, said the Government has consistently failed to realise the mood of the Australian people on this issue.

“It is vital that the Senate support the Democrats’ proposal for a Senate Inquiry, to be voted on this week. There clearly needs to be a great deal more examination of this issue,” said Senator Bartlett.

“The Australian public deserve to put their views to Government and to hear from security experts.

“Today’s polls show the public are clearly not convinced by the Government’s arguments to date.

“The Democrats urge the ALP in particular to support this Inquiry. The Labor Party’s rhetoric has focussed on the need for evidence before any decision can be made about Australia’s involvement. A Senate Inquiry would provide the forum for any such evidence to be presented.

“The Democrats, as early as June, successfully moved in the Senate that the issue of participation in a war against Iraq be put before the Parliament.

“The Democrats have made it clear that we will not support a first strike against Iraq, or any other country, unless an attack by that country is imminent.

“A Senate committee of the US Congress held hearings on potential military conflict in early August. Australia should at least consider the details of this issue in a similar Parliamentary forum,” concluded Senator Bartlett.

For further information contact: Senator Andrew Bartlett on 0418 743 789