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One White House phone call and Australia is at war

Media Release
Scott Ludlam 9 Feb 2017

The Australian Greens have reintroduced the ‘war powers’ bill, which would require Parliamentary approval before Australian forces are sent to war.

“When the war powers bill came before parliament in the past, we used Prime Minister Howard’s captain’s call on the illegal invasion of Iraq as Exhibit A to justify the urgency of the bill. The notion of an unstable American President recklessly picking up the phone to demand a commitment of Australian forces was a hypothetical nightmare scenario. Now it’s a terrifying likelihood,” said Australian Greens Co-Deputy Leader and Defence spokesperson Senator Scott Ludlam said today.

“The new U.S. Administration is not yet a month old, and we’ve already seen Donald Trump’s willingness to berate Prime Minister Turnbull, a man who can’t even stand up to his own conservative colleagues.

“Right now, a well-practiced Prime Ministerial capitulation, on the back of 140 characters of Presidential unhinging, is all it will take to send Australian servicemen and women to their deaths.

“The United States, which requires congressional approval before sending troops to war, currently has more protection from impetuous actions of their President than Australia does.

“Other democracies, including Denmark, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Slovakia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and Turkey, set down troop deployment in constitutional or legislative provisions. Parliamentary approval or consultation is also routinely undertaken in Austria, the Czech Republic, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Norway.

“In 2013 the UK avoided deep embroilment in the disastrous conflict in Syria thanks to the House of Commons saving David Cameron from himself.

“It’s a long overdue reform, and a much-needed first step in rethinking our relationship with the United States under Donald Trump,” Senator Ludlam said.

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