Stop the Prime Minister being able to send Australia to war without approval

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In Australia it is the decision of the Prime Minister of the government of the day to take the country to war. 

This is not acceptable. 

The decision to go to war is one of the most significant decisions that any country can make and is far too important and consequential to be left in the hands of any single person or party of government. 

  • ABC’s Fact Check found in 2014 that:  "No parliament has ever been given the opportunity to debate Australia's active role in a foreign conflict before the Prime Minister of the day has made a decision about committing to military engagement. Since Federation in 1901, and for all conflicts since World War I, the Prime Minister and Cabinet have made all decisions about deploying troops."   (Who has a say in sending Australian troops to war? ABC Fact Check, 9th September 2014)

It is evident that this lack of debate has at times resulted in decision making which has been based on poor or insufficient information which in turn has cost the lives of Australians and our allies as well as local people in war zones, cost vast sums of money and involved Australia in conflicts with countries that do not directly interest or threaten us.

  • University of Sydney Professor and former Australian Army officer James Brown states:  "The danger of the current system is that the main checks on the power of the Prime Minister to take Australia to war are his or her own intellect or character." (Quarterly Essay 62; Firing Line: Australia's Path to War, p.49, 2016)

Your petitioners ask that the Parliament of Australia enact legislation to ensure that any decision to send Australian men and women to war is made with the engagement, debate and vote of the Parliament. 

That is, on every occasion that there is consideration of the need to send Australians into combat, to go to war or to respond to a request from a foreign power (including traditional allies) for Australia to join them in going to war, there must be a full parliamentary debate on the topic in both houses followed by a vote on any decision to deploy Australian forces beyond Australian territorial limits and to engage our country in war. 

 



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