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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 1 Hansard (19 February) . . Page.. 264 ..

MR SMYTH (continuing):

Members, the amendment simply puts the case that there is another way. Whilst deploring that anyone go to war, sometimes what you have to do is show your intent. The amendment simply gives support to the notion of stationing Australian troops overseas to show Saddam Hussein that his reign of terror has come to an end, that a line has been drawn in the sand and that it is actually now time to say, "No more stuffing around. Disarm or there will be a series of consequences."

It is important at this time to make sure that we send a clear message. If we do not send a clear message then this prevarication will go on, and 12 years from now there will be another 17 UN resolutions and the world will be no safer.

The amendment notes that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction, that Saddam's record is pretty poor; that Australia's military deployment in the Middle East serves to strengthen the UN position and that it does not necessarily mean war; and that failure on the part of the Security Council to assert its authority will damage the UN because everybody will then thumb their noses at the Security Council. We should be working through the United Nations to disarm Saddam Hussein. Maintaining a military presence in the Middle East will increase pressure on Iraq to disarm and co-operate.

MS DUNDAS (11.06): I welcome Mr Smyth's contribution to this debate. He did say in the substantive debate, "Show me another way,"and he has put his way forward. He also talked about the need to show a clear message.

In November last year, the Assembly did send a clear message. It was a clear message that we opposed a first strike and a war on Iraq and Australia's involvement in such a war. I thought that that was a pretty clear message then. This motion, as put by Ms Tucker this evening, is again a very clear message about how this Assembly and the people of Canberra feel about having a military presence in the Middle East and about going to war as a solution to the problems in the Middle East at this point in time.

Whilst I recognise Mr Smyth's ideas, as he puts them forward, I cannot support them. Maintaining a military presence in the Middle East to increase the pressure on Iraq to improve its co-operation with UN weapons inspectors and to increase the likelihood of achieving enduring peace and stability by diplomatic means is something I find a little confusing.

I would like to make one other point. I was taught to lead by example, and maintaining a military presence to enforce peace is, to me, not leading by example. I recognise that in some cases it is necessary, and we have had much discussion about those this evening: the role of peacekeepers in East Timor and in other places around the world. But our federal government and the US are not talking about a peacekeeping force, and Mr Smyth's amendment is not talking about a peacekeeping force, but a force of war. To that end I cannot support this amendment.

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