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(AUSTRALIA) Greens Bill Report: There are renewed calls for Federal Parliament to be given the final say on whether troops are deployed to overseas military conflicts, in the aftermath of a 20-year involvement in Afghanistan #AceNewsDesk report

#AceNewsReport – Aug.31: Greens Peace spokesperson senator Jordon Steele-John said the proposed bill would “ensure that we can never again be drawn into a colonial war at the behest of the United States”.

#AceDailyNews says that the Senate is debating a bill put forward by the Greens that would require the government to seek approval from both houses of Parliament before Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel were sent to wars outside Australian territories with powers to commit troops to armed conflicts abroad sit with the prime minister and cabinet.

“Australians are looking on with deep sadness and frustration, as our time in Afghanistan comes to an end and a humanitarian crisis of epic proportions unfold in that country,” he said.

“Now is the time for us to reflect and to examine how it came to this and what we need to do to make sure that it never happens again.”

Greens senator Jordon Steele-John
Greens senator Jordon Steele-John says the bill wouldn’t apply to armed conflicts on Australian soil.

Under the proposed changes, the defence minister would also be required to report in writing every two months on the “status, legality, scope and anticipated duration of the deployment” and explain what efforts were being made to end the conflict.

“This bill is solely about the deployment of Australian troops outside of our territorial borders, and doesn’t call into question the ability of the ADF to respond to any incursion into those territorial boundaries,” Mr Steele-John said:

A 2020 survey, commissioned by the Australians for War Powers Reform group, found an overwhelming number of respondents were supportive of change.

Some 30.9 per cent said they wanted Parliament to approve troop deployments to armed conflicts overseas, while 50.2 per cent said they were supportive “unless there was immediate danger to Australia”.

The Greens’ bill is modelled on a similar one introduced by the Australian Democrats in 1985, but the concept failed to gain the backing of the major parties.

Shadow Defence Minister Brendan O’Connor argued the bill may have “unforeseen and unintended consequences” but said an Albanese Labor Government would hold an inquiry into “how Australia makes decisions to send service personnel into international armed conflict”.

“Recent events in Afghanistan have shown how important it is that the executive has the power to act swiftly and decisively when deploying our troops, not only for the security of our nation and our allies but also to ensure that our troops are operating with legal authority and legal protection,” Mr O’Connor said in a statement.

An Australian solider wearing a face mask stands on a tarmac as the sun sets behind him
Australian forces supported US efforts in Afghanistan for two decades with little end result.(Defence Department: Tristan Kennedy)

“While we believe it is critical that the executive has the flexibility to deploy troops when urgency is required, we also believe it is critical that the decision to deploy is subject to public and parliamentary scrutiny.

Afghan-Australian human rights lawyer Diana Sayed said that while she supported greater scrutiny and public debate around decisions to go to war, she insisted there were more pressing matters that remained unresolved.

“Before we debate what we do in the future there needs to be a reckoning about the past,” she said

“We need to take stock of the Brereton report and the damning war crimes allegations that were contained in there.

“There is no peace without justice.”

Liberal backbencher Eric Abetz told the Senate the proposal should be dumped.

“If one were to be an enemy of Australia, one would be salivating at the prospect of the Greens bill being passed,” he said.

“Imagine a two-day, or even two-minute parliamentary debate on whether to attack somewhere.

“Forewarned is forearmed — how could anything think that that is a smart, strategic idea.”

#AceNewsDesk report ………Published: Aug.31: 2021:

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