The Labor Opposition has given its support to the government’s commitment of RAAF aircraft and military personnel to the fight against ISIL in Iraq, whilst the Greens have opposed it.
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten described ISIL as a “barbaric organisation” and said: “Labor supports today’s announcement of the deployment of an Australian military force – including RAAF assets and personnel – to the United Arab Emirates.”
Shorten said the ALP didn’t do so lightly: “But we support the Government’s decision that Australia has a role to play in eradicating this evil and we are reassured that our support is being provided at the request of, and in full coordination with, the Iraqi Government.”
In Hobart, Greens leader Senator Christine Milne criticised the commitment, describing it as open-ended and lacking a plan for engagement.
Milne said there was no indication of the duration of the mission or the criteria for its success: “How long? How many people? What measure of success? Nobody knows.”
Milne said Australia needed to adopt a more independent foreign policy and not simply agree to US decisions.
The Government announced earlier today that Australia sill send eight Super Hornets and 600 military personnel to the Middle East to join the international coalition against ISIL.
- Listen to Milne (15m)
- Watch Milne (3m)
Statement from Opposition Leader Bill Shorten and Deputy Leader Tanya Plibersek.
Australian Military Contribution To Fighting Evils Of ISIL
This afternoon, the Prime Minister briefed the Opposition on Australia’s contribution to an international coalition to fight ISIL.
ISIL is a barbaric organisation that is engaged in the massacre of innocent people.
The execution of British citizen David Haines is further sickening evidence of this.
This evil organisation must be defeated and their fighting capacity disabled.
We cannot co-operate with this insatiable ruthlessness by refusing to support the innocent.
The situation in Iraq remains deeply concerning and there’s no doubt that a humanitarian crisis continues to develop.
Labor has fully supported the humanitarian mission that Australia has been involved with in Iraq – our RAAF personnel have been doing a tremendous job providing humanitarian relief to people desperately in need.
Labor supports today’s announcement of the deployment of an Australian military force – including RAAF assets and personnel – to the United Arab Emirates.
We don’t do so lightly, but we support the Government’s decision that Australia has a role to play in eradicating this evil and we are reassured that our support is being provided at the request of, and in full coordination with, the Iraqi Government.
We are also greatly heartened by the progress being made by new Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, in the formation of a unity government, which is vital to achieving a successful outcome against these terrorists.
President Obama made it clear that the United States will not be dragged into another ground war in Iraq – this is an important statement of principle and we support this.
There have been too many mistakes made in the past that western countries must avoid repeating.
In uncertain times such as these, we must refuse to submit to fear, prejudice and intolerance.
We must jealously guard the harmony of our society. It’s what makes our country so remarkable.
The Australian men and women involved in this action – and their families – will be in our thoughts.