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Greens Say Speech Shows PM Is Out Of Touch

March 13, 2003

Following the address by the Prime Minister, John Howard, on Iraq, the leader of the Australian Greens, Senator Bob Brown, has accused Howard of being out of touch.


This is the text of a media statement released by the leader of the Australian Greens, Senator Bob Brown.

Senator Bob Brown, leader of the Australian Greens The Prime Minister said nothing new and has failed to go above board with the Australian people about intelligence reports to him predicting the potential death and destruction of an Iraq war and the increased risk of terrorism, Greens Senator Bob Brown said today.

"The Prime Minister should have directly addressed - and showed he had a leaders' sympathy for - the real qualms of millions of Australians," Senator Brown said.

"Instead, he effectively dismisses the wider public wisdom as irrelevant. This is a deep flaw which, if not fixed, will seriously divide the country including conservative voters.

"He has shown he speaks more for the White House than the widely held feeling in Australia that this is not our war. After the speech Tom Schiefer could say 'he speaks for me' but millions of Australians will say 'he is not listening, he doesn't speak for us'.

"It was a speech of a bunkered PM, very out of touch with the great feeling against war in Australia. Most of all it shed no light on the future facing 2000 Australians in the middle East," Senator Brown said.


This is the text of a statement released by the Australian Greens member for Cunningham, Michael Organ.

HOWARD'S WAY - THE ROAD TO WAR

Michael Organ, MHR Cunningham, Australian Greens Prime Minister John Howard's address to the National Press Club today shows he still isn't listening to the vast majority of Australians who oppose any Australian involvement in a war with Iraq, according to Cunningham MP Michael Organ.

"Mr. Howard is clutching at straws to justify his involvement in the United States' rush to war", Mr. Organ said.

"George Bush's coalition of the willing is dissolving and United Nations weapons inspectors have been unable to find any trace of Saddam Hussein's alleged weapons of mass destruction, but our Prime Minister is still convinced that Australia should become involved in an illegal war."

"It is a sad indictment of the Federal government that Mr. Howard should choose to put his case to a privileged few, rather than allowing the question of Australian troop deployments to be debated in the people's forum, the Australian Parliament", Mr. Organ said.

"The government has consistently blocked attempts, which I have backed, to bring the matter onto the floor of the House of Representatives. It is simply not good enough for the Prime Minister of this nation to engage in the sort of self-justification he displayed this afternoon. He has again failed to reveal any real or credible threat to our nation, offering nothing more than another defence of the US position."

"The Greens, like millions of other Australians, are unequivocally opposed to war. Peace and diplomacy must prevail", he concluded.

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