Bill's Media Releases


Earlier today, Prime Minister Tony Abbott informed Labor of the Government’s decision to commit Australia to military action against ISIL forces in Iraq.


Today, our thoughts are with the brave men and women of our defence forces – and their families - who will undertake this mission in the name of the defenceless.


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


These decisions are never made lightly - the most difficult decision for a nation is to send its military into harm’s way.


But in the face of evil, nations of good conscience have a responsibility to act.


ISIL is not the enemy of one nation, one faith or one people - they are the enemy of all, because they are the enemy of peace.


The long term security of Iraq depends upon Iraqis – both the Government and the people.  Peace and stability depends upon the resolute action of Middle Eastern counties.


In the face of this threat, Australia  has a responsibility to join a broad international coalition – and we have a role to play in the global response.


Labor’s support for this action continues to be underpinned by our key principles:


  • We do not support the deployment of Australian ground combat units to directly engage in fighting ISIL.


  • 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.


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


I thank the Prime Minister for his willingness to engage with the Opposition on this most important issue.


We will continue to put the national security of our country above politics.