Bill's Speeches

Statement to the House of Representatives - Iraq

IRAQ


STATEMENT TO THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

PARLIAMENT HOUSE, CANBERRA
WEDNESDAY, 1 OCTOBER 2014


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I thank the Prime Minister for updating the Parliament.

Once again, I would take this opportunity to place on the record Labor’s admiration for the bravery, professionalism and skill of the men and women of our defence force – and the resilience of their families.

Our defence forces have our complete support as they prepare for this humanitarian mission, and we promise to look after their families that they leave behind here in Australia.

As my colleagues and I have consistently said, Labor’s support for Australia’s involvement in Iraq is underpinned by four principles:

Firstly, we do not support the deployment of ground combat units to directly engage in fighting ISIL.

Secondly, Australian operations should be confined to Iraq.

Third, our involvement should continue only until the Iraqi government is in a position to take full responsibility for the security of their people and their nation.

Fourth, if the Iraqi Government and its forces engage in unacceptable conduct or adopt unacceptable policies – we should withdraw our support.

These four principles represent the conditions we have set for our support.

I do note and welcome the Prime Minister’s comments regarding the negotiations underway on the legal and diplomatic framework to support our operations in Iraq.

Labor has taken a strong interest in ensuring that Australia meets its international legal and diplomatic obligations.

And in guaranteeing that the appropriate force protection measures are in place for Australians serving in the region.

This is part of Australia’s responsibilities as a good international citizen - as well as providing important legal protections for our defence personnel.

These decisions are too important to be rushed, and we support the Government taking the time to get it right.

In the days ahead, our thoughts are with the men and women of the ADF.

We wish them a safe and successful mission and a speedy return to the ones they love.

ENDS

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