Wednesday, February 05, 2003

Text of address by Labor leader Simon Crean to parliament on Iraq
"My question for you - and the question the Australian people want answered is this: when you go to Washington will you tell George Bush that no Australian troops will be involved in the war in Iraq without a UN mandate? You must insist in your discussions with George Bush that no troops should be sent to war without a UN mandate."

A strong speech by Crean, probably one of his best, but it and Labor's position is excessively poll driven. When the Security Council authorises or allows war, as it probably will under intense US pressure despite the enormous opposition, the sting will be taken from Crean's remarks. A more principled, more courageous stance would be to take a leaf from Schroeder's book and oppose the war with or wihout UN sanction, as there is simply no reasonable case for it. And Australia ought not be involving itself in such remote foreign wars in any case as our modest resources should be devoted to the security of our own region.

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