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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 12 Hansard (13 November) . . Page.. 3563 ..

MR PRATT (continuing):

It is the ability to maintain and keep the pressure on that will hopefully rid the world of this guy and get this regime change in place. I reckon that, when that occurs, we are going to see a ramping-up of peace in the Middle East. The removal of the Saddam Hussein regime, including his republican guards division and his secret police, would allow the people of Iraq self-determination. It would allow nations on the fringe of Iraq to finally settle down to control and manage their internal problems in a better way. It would help police sort out Islamic fundamentalist movements in their own countries-it would certainly take the sting out of them. It would also allow the United States and the west to refocus on sorting out this wretched Israeli/Palestinian problem-and it must be sorted out.

Arabs are peace-loving, warm-hearted people. Too many of them are under the thumbs of dictators, or living in the shadow of fundamentalist fear. The west may need to take tough action in the short term to bring things to a head. The west can then get back to what it should have been doing, and has not been doing properly, for the past decade-intervening in a humanitarian, diplomatic and political way in the Middle East, to help those nations rebuild and return to peace.

Amendment agreed to.

MR HARGREAVES (5.23): I seek leave to move two amendments circulated in my name.

Leave granted.

MR HARGREAVES: I move the following amendments together:

(1) Omit the words "as proposed by the US and Britain", substitute "not sanctioned by the United Nations".

(2) After the word "issues"add the following words:

"and urges the Federal Government to exhaust all diplomatic efforts towards peaceful resolution of the crisis, noting the United Nation's continuing ethical duty to seek peace for the people of Iraq.".

Mr Deputy Speaker, I categorically support very significantly the sentiments behind the original motion, but I think there are a few things we can add to it. There are a number of points I would like to make in speaking to the motion and moving my amendments.

I am sure Mr Pratt is well versed as to, and aware of, how the people within the country of Iraq feel about having to suffer under such a horrendous regime. I do not think there is a member here who would feel anything but the greatest sympathy and compassion for them, and hold the greatest hope that they will have a an improved life under a better regime. The question is, however, how does that come about-and whether or not we have a responsibility to march in there and change it.

In a discussion of these matters around the dinner table not long ago, the question was posed to me: where was Australia leading the world when Pol Pot was murdering all of his people? In fact, where was Australia when Milosevic was doing the same? We can go on, if you like, to talk about all the other dictators. The question is: where was Australia?

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