Tuesday, June 17, 2003

Swinging voters need to be convinced that Labor will be steadfast on terrorism
Opposition to the Howard government should go on the front foot on the basis that Howard has increased, not lessened, the security and terrorism threat to Australia and Australians. His unquestioning support for American policy has increased the risk and that fact needs to be squarely faced. Australia's genuine national security interest requires a dramatic change in policy: end the unquestioning subservience to the USA; repudiate the reckless declaration by Howard of a right to a "preemptive strike" against our neighbours; re-commit to International Law and the Charter of the United Nations; restore relations with our neighbours and with Muslims, particularly in our region; focus our resources on the security of our own country and our own region, in cooperation with our neighbours under law; terminate the politicisation of the army, the navy, the SAS and the Intelligence Services that we have suffered under the Howard government. For example, trained SAS troops should not be used on stunts such as the Tampa which could have been handled by a bureaucrat with a clipboard; and the nominal C-in-C the Governor-General should perform the duties of farewelling and welcoming home troops instead of turning every such occasion into a political photo opportunity. A long term committment should be made to understand and respect the sentiments of Muslim people; gratuitous insults and discriminatory action such as the refugee policy work against the genuine national security interests of Australia. A thoroughgoing inquiry into the failure of intelligence over the Iraq WMD issue is necessary, and those figures (either intelligence or government) who contributed to misleading the people have to go. There can hardly be a more serious issue for the country than the question of war and peace, terrorism, national and individual security; and there could hardly be a more wretched politicisation and betrayal on these issues than that practiced by the Howard Government.

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