Labor Fails to Reform how Australia goes to war.


The Australian Greens dissent to a report released by the major parties that could see Peter Dutton unilaterally send Australians to War

Today the parliamentary inquiry into international armed conflict decision-making has released its report into the way Australia decides to go to an overseas war. 

This report fails to recommend any meaningful reforms and will continue to see the Prime Minister able to act unilaterally in sending Australians to war. 

Quotes attributed to Senator Jordon Steele-John, Greens spokesperson for Peace and Foreign Affairs: 

“The inquiry report does nothing to stop the abuse of power that saw John Howard able to send Australians to an illegal war in Iraq in 2003 and it does nothing to add accountability to one of the most grave decisions a nation can make.

“The Greens strongly believe that the decision to send Australians to war should be with the parliament and not made in cabinet backrooms shielded from transparency or accountability to the Australian community. This position was supported by 94 of the 111 submissions to the inquiry. 

“In the last 25 years, we have seen governments led by both major parties unilaterally wage war across the Middle East in Australia’s name without the consultation of the parliament or the consent of the Australian people.

“There is deep irony in the fact that the instigating factor as to whether and where Australians have been deployed since 2001 has been a vote of elected American representatives, not our own.

“The Albanese government has broken its promise to the Australian community for a meaningful review of this process by having senior Ministers like Richard Marles and Penny Wong publicly undermine the committee's work and investigation.

“This Labor government seems intent on reliving the mistakes of the past that have caused such human suffering by relying on an unfounded legal interpretation that lets the Prime Minister unilaterally send Australians to war without even approval from the Governor-General.

“History will remember this moment Labor’s missed opportunity to create meaningful change. Instead, they chose to maintain a status quo that could one day see Peter Dutton with an unchecked ability to wage war.”

More Information

  • Senator Steele-John is a member of the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade.
  • The committee conducted an inquiry into international armed conflict decision-making between September 2022 and March 2023. 
  • The final report is available, here
  • The Australian Greens dissenting report is available, here

MEDIA CONTACT: STEELE-JOHN - Sophie Greer; 0448 316 387