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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 12 Hansard (13 November) . . Page.. 3547 ..

MS DUNDAS (continuing):

Though in the past Iraq certainly produced both chemical and biological agents, the US has never been able to present any credible evidence that Iraq currently has biological weapons or other weapons of mass destruction.

International law is quite clear about when military force is allowed; it is permissible for individual or collective self-defence against armed attack until the Security Council has taken the measures necessary to maintain international peace and security. In recent days, resolution 1441 has passed through the UN, and it is already clear the United States and British governments are seeking to interpret this resolution as a vote to make war possible, not as a vote to make peace possible.

The resolution does not authorise military action. It requires the Security Council to meet if UN weapons inspectors report a breach of its terms. However, US officials are already arguing that the Security Council resolution does not prevent them from going to war. The military build-up now taking place suggests that both the US and British governments are keen to go to war.

Resolution 1441 has not brought America back under the umbrella of international law as many hoped it would. President Bush made it crystal clear that he is not going to be bound by the UN when he responded to the Security Council vote by announcing "the resolution did not jeopardise US freedom of action".

There is every sign that the US believes that the UN resolution is a sign of support from the international community for an aggressive oil war. It does not. We should not be trading blood for oil. What happens if the US invades Iraq and they are successful in overthrowing Saddam Hussein's regime? As it is becoming apparent in Afghanistan, throwing a government out is easier than putting a new one together.

Today in the Assembly, we have the opportunity to join with community leaders, religious leaders, union leaders, the Returned Services League and other political leaders to make a clear statement that we oppose a first strike on Iraq and we affirm the United Nations as the vehicle for seeking a non-violent resolution of these issues. We must remember that war is not a way to peace.

MS TUCKER (4.19): I move the following amendment:

After paragraph (2) add the following paragraph:

"(3) and further urges him to commit Australia to work towards a universal program for the elimination of weapons of mass destruction that involves all nuclear powers.".

Real dangers and opportunities face Australia, and our national leaders are demonstrably unable to find an appropriate response. The possibility of Australian participation in an American war on Iraq is perhaps the clearest illustration of that failure, a failure which may lead to an inordinate loss of Australian lives, inevitably a substantial loss of innocent civilian lives in Iraq, an escalation of the brutal and destructive tensions in the Middle East, an increased encouragement and justification for terrorist organisations and terrorist activities around the world, and ongoing social and environmental catastrophe.

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