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Greens win Inquiry into Parliament Approving Troop Deployment

Media Release
Scott Ludlam 20 Aug 2009

The Greens welcome the decision of the Senate today for an Inquiry into the "War Powers" Bill requiring Parliamentary approval for deployment of Australian troops into conflict situations.

"In 2003, in the absence of any checks or balances that many other democracies have, John Howard sent Australian troops to war, without Parliamentary approval and against overwhelming public opposition," said the Greens' Attorneys General Spokesperson, Senator Scott Ludlam. "This must never happen again."

"In the wake of the departure of Australian troops from Iraq, the time is ripe for debate about to the "War Powers" Bill that would ensure parliamentary approval for taking the country to war."

"The Committee can now take evidence and gauge the mood in the community for this long overdue and essential reform."

"My Private Senator's Bill will subject a decision to go to war to the scrutiny of Parliament as is the case in Denmark, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Slovakia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and Turkey. It is carefully drafted so as not to hinder emergency deployments, disaster relief or peacekeeping operations.

"In these countries troop deployment is set down in constitutional or legislative provisions. This is a subject of intense debate in the UK - where the Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives are both pressuring the Prime Minister to take this step."

Senator Ludlam's Private Senator's Bill, the Defence Amendment (Parliamentary Approval of Overseas Service) Bill 2008 [No. 2] was first introduced by Democrat Senator Andrew Bartlett. Senator Ludlam took carriage of the Bill after Senator Bartlett departed the Senate mid 2008.

The Senate Committee will report on 19 November 2009.

Read Senator Ludlam's speech on the introduction of this Bill

For more information or media enquiries please call Tim Norton on 0418 401 180

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