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War with Iran should not be PM's prerogative.



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DEMOCRATS MEDIA 05/058 THURSDAY 10 FEBRUARY 2005 SENATOR LYN ALLISON LEADER OF THE AUSTRALIAN DEMOCRATS SENATOR ANDREW BARTLETT AUSTRALIAN DEMOCRATS DEFENCE SPOKESPERSON WAR WITH IRAN SHOULD NOT BE PM'S PREROGATIVE The Senate will today debate legislation put forward by the Australian Democrats, that would take the power to go to war out of the hands of the Cabinet and place it with both houses of Parliament. The Democrats argue that Parliamentary consent should be needed before Australian troops are sent to overseas conflict. Senator Lyn Allison, Democrats’ Leader warned today that the Prime Minister involved Australia in an illegal and avoidable war with Iraq and could do it again with Iran. "The latest comments on Iran by US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, should concern all Australians who do not want this nation to again take part in a pre-emptive strike and get involved in a drawn out and destructive conflict," Senator Allison said. “War should not be the prerogative of the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister should not have the power to send our troops to war without the support of the United Nations, the Australian Parliament or the Australian people and without the Governor-General needing to authorise the decision. "The Howard Government was the first in our history to go to war without the support of the Parliament," said Democrats Defence spokesperson Senator Andrew Bartlett. "The Senate voted against going to war in Iraq even as the bombs began to fall on Baghdad, but had no power to prevent it. If this legislation passed that could not happen. The Executive should not be able to involve Australian troops in an overseas conflict if they have not been able to successfully make their case at least to the Parliament. The ongoing violence in Iraq proves that regime change through invasion has too high a cost. If the Government does not learn this lesson, Australia is in danger of following the US into a war against Iran next," Senator Bartlett concluded. The legislation includes exceptions covering the movement of personnel in the normal course of their peacetime activities and the need to take swift action in an emergency. The Democrats have proposed this initiative for 25 years. A petition in support is available at http://www.democrats.org.au/campaigns/how_to_stop_the_next_war/ Media contact Daele Healy 0419 867 659