Greens bring on a bill to increase ADF transparency, scrutiny, and ensure a vote of both houses of parliament would be needed for the ADF to engage in any future wars.
The Australian Greens War Powers Reform Bill will be before the Senate on Monday. This bill would mean that to deploy the ADF overseas there would need to be a vote of both houses of Parliament.
Right now, the Prime Minister and Cabinet can decide to send Australians to war, without the agreement of Parliament. A majority of the Australian community wants this to change^.
The Australian Greens War Powers Reform Act will:
- Ensure that there would be a vote of Parliament to send Australians to war overseas.
- Ensure greater accountability on the actions of the ADF, with parliament to receive regular updates about the need for our armed forces to be sent overseas, as well as the actions of our soldiers once their boots are on foreign soil.
- Bring Australia’s War Powers laws into line with Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden. amongst others.
Australian Greens Spokesperson for Peace and Nuclear Disarmament Senator Jordon Steele-John said:
“The Australian Greens are bringing forward this reform at a vital time. A time where Australians are watching the humanitarian disaster unfold in Afghanistan with deep sadness. At the end of the 20 year war in Afghanistan we must immediately begin to assess and evaluate how it came to this. Australia's involvement in this disaster is a direct result of the way in which Australia went to war in the first place: without mission clarity, an identifiable enemy, and minimal accountability back to the parliament.
“The Prime Minister and Cabinet have decided unilaterally that the Australian Defence Force should follow the United States into disastrous conflicts like Iraq and Afghanistan. There has been no opportunity for community scrutiny, these conflicts have had unclear goals, minimal accountability, and there has been little guarantee that returning veterans will receive the support they need.
“The Brereton report outlined that the lack of mission clarity in Afghanistan and misemployment of a small pool of special forces with little respite, contributed to the appalling and shameful culture within the ADF. War crimes must never happen again, and the culture within the ADF must be turned around. The Australian Greens War Powers Reform Act will ensure that parliament is able to scrutinise the objectives of a conflict and ensure the ADF is more accountable to parliament; both will contribute to a urgently needed change of culture within the ADF.
“It is The Greens view that we must never again participate in a colonial war of aggression. Our goal must always be peace.
“The War Powers Reform Act will ensure that a peace-focused approach is brought to our defense force, and that members of parliament will be held to account for the consequences of sending Australians to war.”
^According to a nationwide Roy Morgan opinion poll, released in Nov 2020, 83.3% of Australians want Parliament to vote on whether our troops are sent into armed conflict abroad. The poll found that more than 75% of all Labor, Coalition and Greens voters support the reform
STEELE-JOHN - Sophie Greer; 0448 316 387