Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 1 Hansard (19 February) . . Page.. 251 ..
MRS DUNNE (continuing):
As you know, I come to this place as a Christian, most specifically as a Catholic, and in informing my conscience I have had to go back and look at what the churches have said in recent times and review what the churches have said in history about war. You might get the impression from reading the papers from time to time that the church is peopled by pastors who are pacifists, but that is not actually the case. There have been some remarkable exceptions to that-Dr Tom Frame, who is the Anglican bishop of the defence forces, and Archbishop Pell, and there have been others in other jurisdictions and in other countries. I am grateful for the contribution that sets this up in stark contrast. This is not an easy issue.
What we are talking about is whether the just war theory expounded by Augustine in the 5th century apply today. We cannot answer that definitively because it is a matter of prudential judgment, and it is a prudential judgment that each of us has to make. We have to look, as Archbishop Pell did in his article in the Australian a couple of weeks ago, at what is happening and ask: is war a reasonable last resort when all prospect of success in other ways has been eliminated? You have to ask yourself: if we go to war in Iraq, is it the last resort? I think that, as Tom Frame has said, we can legitimately answer yes, that it is a matter of last recourse.
But a good cause is not enough to justify everything. (Extension of time granted.) Most would agree with the viewpoint of the allies that we went to war in World War II for a just cause. But one of the most important things about World War II was the issue of the involvement of combatants and neither side-the allies more specifically, I suspect-was free from guilt of recklessly endangering non-combatants. That is one of the things that we have to ask ourselves. If we go to war in Iraq, if the cause is just, can we minimise the harm to non-combatants? Are we sure that we are not deliberately-"deliberately"is the word here-imposing danger on non-combatants?
In the case of Iraq, bishops Frame and Pell have come to different conclusions. Bishop Frame concludes that the cause is just and Archbishop Pell thinks that more options need to be tried, but he does not rule out the use of force in the end. In looking at the issue of a just war, I did look at various things said. A useful little thing for going about the evaluation of the conditions about a just war for moral legitimacy is that it is a prudential judgment which falls to those who have responsibility for the common good. This is what the Catholic catechism says in conclusion about the just war. That translation means that when everything is bound together, the people who make the decisions are the responsible governments.
This is a decision for governments to make. It is a decision about which we can have a view and which we should robustly debate, but in the end it is a decision, as Mr Stefaniak has quite rightly said in his amendment, is a matter for the federal government. That is why I contended at the outset that we should not be debating it. But if we are debating it, we should be careful about how we debate it. Whether we can or cannot support the war personally, we must not do so in a way that undermines the sovereignty and the security of our country and, more importantly, the security of our soldiers.