We have today received from the National Secretariat of the Australian Labor Party a reply to our letter of 13 August 2013 to Prime Minister Kevin Rudd. The full text is below:
23 August 2013
Mr Paul Barratt
President Iraq War Inquiry Group Inc
Suite 406, 1 Queens Road
Melbourne Vic 3004
Dear Mr Barratt
Thank you for your letter of 13 August regarding the Federal Labor Party’s policy on Iraq. As you know, the Howard Government’s decision to go to war in Iraq in 2003 was not supported by the Federal Labor Party in Opposition. That is why we had a commitment in opposition to withdraw Australian combat troops from Iraq and why we delivered on that commitment in Government.
1. Executive authority
Under the Constitution, decisions on the deployment of the Australian Defence Force on overseas missions are made by the government of the day.
2. Parliamentary war powers
The Federal Labor Government supports parliamentary debate over all matters of crucial national security importance.
3. The ANZUS Alliance
Australia’s alliance with the United States of America remains a fundamental pillar of our national security and stability in our region.
The Federal Labor Government remains committed to fulfilling all obligations under the terms of the 1951 ANZUS Treaty, which are consistent with the UN Charter’s provisions on the use of force.
5. Iraq War Inquiry
Several inquiries have been conducted into this matter, including through a joint parliamentary committee in 2004. The Federal Labor Government does not propose to initiate or conduct another inquiry into these issues.
6. WMD verification, monitoring and compliance
The Labor Opposition strongly supported the UN inspection regime in Iraq, including the UN Special Commission and the UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Mission prior to the 2003 war.
The Federal Labor Government continues to support existing mechanisms for the verification, monitoring and compliance of global non-proliferation efforts. As a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council, Australia chairs the committees on Iran sanctions, Al-Qaeda and the Taliban.
Labor Governments have a strong record on WMD non-proliferation including establishing export control regimes such as the Australia Group, and ensuring the passage of the Chemical Weapons Convention through the United Nations General Assembly.
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