From the beginning, Labor’s consideration of Australian involvement in Iraq has been guided by four clear principles.
Those four principles are:
- Australian operations should be confined to Iraq.
- Australia’s 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.
- If the Iraqi Government and its forces engage in unacceptable conduct or adopt unacceptable policies – Australia should withdraw our support; and
- We do not support the deployment of Australian ground combat units to directly engage in fighting Daesh.
Based on the information provided to us by the Government and our security forces, Labor believes the Building Partner Capacity mission is consistent within those principles. But Labor expects the Government to clearly articulate an exit strategy. We note the Government has said this is not an open ended mission.
Australia and the international community have a responsibility to protect the people of Iraq from atrocities perpetrated by groups like Daesh.
We are reassured that our support is being given at the request of the Iraqi Government.
The decision to send Australian men and women into harm’s way should never be taken lightly, and Labor never will.
Any mission, in a region torn by violence, carries a deadly risk.
Our thoughts today are with our troops already in Iraq and the Middle East and their families - Australians admire the bravery that such actions demands and Labor congratulates our ADF personnel on the job they’re doing. We’re also thinking of the families who have loved ones serving as part of this mission.
The Opposition expects to be fully briefed prior to any decision by the Government to deploy Australian forces.
Labor calls on the Prime Minister to make a detailed statement to the Parliament about Australia’s involvement to allow all elected representatives the opportunity to reflect on this very serious matter.
TUESDAY, 3 MARCH 2015
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