civil liberties council moves to oppose war

Wednesday, 22 January 2003 NSWCCL media release: 4/2003


Cameron Murphy, NSWCCL President, announced that the committee of the NSW Council for Civil Liberties resolved at its meeting of 22 January 2003 to oppose any war with Iraq under current circumstances. The meeting passed two resolutions, as follows, and a statement outlining the position of the Council. 


The New South Wales Council for Civil Liberties resolves: 

(1) to oppose Australian participation in a war against Iraq without consultation, referendum or immediate recall and support of the parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia; and 

(2) to use the legal resources of the CCL to defend and support Australians who have a conscientious objection to Australian government participation in war against Iraq.

Statement in Support of Resolutions: 

Clearly the Australian government is hell-bent on unquestioned support for the U.S.A Government in its aim of staging a war against Iraq – an aggressive war for which no just cause has been established. There is no evidence that Iraq has either an intention or capability of using weapons of mass destruction, unlike the U.S.A. 

Certainly Iraq presents no direct threat to Australia, yet the scenario of attack upon Iraq means very heavy loss of Iraqi lives, particularly civilians under bombardment. If Australian forces are involved, there will probably be some deaths there too, not to mention damage to Australian economic interests and reputation. Democratic principles demand that the Australian people be consulted on this issue by a referendum or immediate recall of parliament. In the latter case, a conscience vote is imperative, given that no political party has a mandate to command an automatic vote in favour of participation in this kind of war. 

Councils for Civil Liberties have a particular concern in this matter. Rights such as due process of law are to be undermined by the legislation before the Federal Parliament in the next parliamentary term. Correspondingly, the NSW government has legislated to increase the powers of State police in matters such as search without warrant. 

These are dangerous abuses of basic freedom, which will not be automatically reversed when the situation changes. 

Given the possibility of an attack upon Iraq in the present circumstances, the Council expresses the basic concern that attack on any nation without sanction of the United Nations is a fundamental attack on the Charter of the United Nations and the rule of international law. 

For further information contact: 

NSWCCL President, Cameron Murphy, 0411-769-769