On 16 August 2012 an informal grouping of people describing ourselves as the Iraq War Inquiry Group (IWIG) met in a Committee Room in Parliament House to launch a document entitled Why Did We Go to War in Iraq: a call for an Australian inquiry.
Our host for the event was the Member for Fremantle, Ms Melissa Parke MP (ALP), and the document was launched by former Prime Minister the Rt Hon Malcolm Fraser AC CH.
Other members of the panel at the launch were:
- Senator Scott Ludlam (Greens, WA).
- Mr Andrew Wilkie MP (Ind), the Member for Denison.
- GEN (Retd.) Peter Gration AC OBE, former Chief of the Defence Force.
- Mr Paul Barratt AO, former Secretary, Department of Defence and former Deputy Secretary, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
- Dr Sue Wareham OAM, Vice-President, Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia).
- Professor Ramesh Thakur, Director, Centre for Nuclear Nonproliferation & Disarmament, ANU Asia-Pacific College of Diplomacy.
- Dr Alison Broinowski, former diplomat; Visiting Fellow, Department of Asian Studies, ANU; Honorary Research Fellow, University of Wollongong.
- Adjunct Professor Richard Broinowski, Media and Communications, University of Sydney; former diplomat.
- Mr Rod Barton former Director of Intelligence (Science and Technology), Defence Intelligence Organisation; former UN Weapons Inspector in Iraq
Since the launch we have applied to become an incorporated association, as a more effective vehicle for raising funds and conducting a campaign, and elected a committee to lead and manage our affairs.
The objectives of our association are:
1 To campaign for an inquiry into the steps which led to Australia participating in the invasion of Iraq, for the purposes of identifying the lessons to be learned and of developing better procedures for the future.
2 To promote public awareness of the procedures required by current law for the deployment of the Australian Defence Force into international armed conflicts, and of the risks involved in the current arrangements.
3 To campaign for the involvement of the Commonwealth Parliament in any future deployment of the Australian Defence Force into international armed conflict.
There are many unanswered questions in relation to Australia’s decision to go to war. They include:
- What was the Government’s decision-making process and timing that led to our participation in the invasion?
- What were the objectives, and how was success to be defined?
- How did the Government reconcile conflicting intelligence assessments?
- How did the Government attempt to satisfy itself of the legality of the invasion?
- Which of the many NGO predictions of widespread and severe human suffering, including by children, did the Government consider? If none, why?
- To what extent were the statements made to the Parliament and the public consistent with all the available relevant assessments.
To assist our supporters to find out more about the issues involved in our deployment to Iraq, and the processes by which we decide to put members of the Australian Defence Force in harm’s way, and to enable them to keep track of and support our campaign, we have established a Facebook page at www.facebook.com/IraqWarInquiryGroup . Please visit the site and express your support for the campaign by clicking on the Like button.