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Edition 86, October 2021
Editorial: Democratic scrutiny is required 

By AWPR President, Dr Alison Broinowski AM

AWPR made submissions to the Senate Inquiry into the war in Afghanistan and on the Senate Legislation Committee’s consideration of reform of the War Powers, which went to the Senate on 19 October, the 20th anniversary of Australia’s invasion of Afghanistan. In tabling a Bill for the changes, the Greens said: ‘We will give Parliament the power to decide whether we go to war or not … Our community does not want our future to be at the behest of the United States of America’.

With recent claptrap  of ‘war drums’ beating, followed by the government’s surprise announcement of the AUKUS agreement, the need to change the way Australia goes to war has never been more urgent. From Michael West Media’s ongoing survey of Federal politicians, it’s clear that many of them share this opinion, and that others across the political spectrum are open to persuasion. Submissions made by a wide cross-section of Australians to IPAN’s current Peoples’ Inquiry into the US-Australia Alliance, its Costs and Consequences, show that many of them do not agree with the bipartisan approach of leaders of the Government and Opposition to this question.

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Death of British mandarin who passed damning judgment on the Iraq War.  

By Andrew Farran, Former Committee member AWPR

By an extraordinary coincidence the death of two individuals, with particular authority on the Iraq War, one in Britain and the other in Australia, occurred on the same day - October 3, 2021 - one in his eighties, the other nearly so. Both were equally distinguished in their respective lifetimes.
 
The first was Sir John Chilcot GCB, PC, who chaired the official UK inquiry into Britain’s involvement in that war; the second, Paul Barratt AO, a longtime and distinguished Australian public servant, including as head of the Department of Defence, and later, among other concerns, as a founder of Australians for War Powers Reform, whose writings anticipated in almost every respect the findings of Sir John Chilcot’s Report.


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Tributes for Paul Barratt AO 

By Dr Alison Broinowski AM

With the death of Paul Hunter Barratt in Armidale on 3 October, Australia lost one of the last of his kind: a man whose selfless dedication to public service and rational, progressive governance is becoming all too rare in our nation’s bureaucracies.

Coming from a rural background and educated at The Armidale School, Paul Barratt earned an honours degree in physics from The University of New England where both his parents, Shirley Egan and Paul Eric Hunter Barratt, worked in psychology. Paul’s father had been UNE’s first student, with ID 001, and became its third Professor of Psychology.

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AWPR Member News

 AWPR Member Forum 

During September we held an AWPR Member Forum. We were delighted with the online turnout held on Zoom.

We took members through our AWPR activities and also gathered new ideas for taking our campaign out to the public and garnering further engagement.

We were very appreciative of the attendance of Paul Barratt our former President who attended the event.

Have you considered becoming a Member? Our ongoing capacity for campaign work is dependent on membership subscriptions and donations. We also welcome your contribution of time and expertise. 

AWPR Executive Committee Members

At the recent AWPR AGM two long term members of the committee stood down following many years of dedicated work. Our sincere thanks to Pera Wells and Andrew Farran for your outstanding contribution to the cause of war powers reform. Next month we will pay tribute to these members. 

We also appointed Dr Alison Broinowski AM as AWPR President.

Four new executive committee members were elected for the next 12 months.  

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Veterans Initiative 

Many hundreds of Australian families are today living with the terrible grief of having lost a loved one as a result of military service in Australia’s recent wars.  Many more are living with war’s emotional and physical traumas.

AWPR’s campaign No War Without Parliament is seeking the voices of some of those Australians most heavily affected by decisions for overseas wars – ADF veterans and their families.

We are seeking the signatures of ADF veterans and family members for an appeal to all federal parliamentarians, urging their reform of this dangerous and undemocratic process.

Please view the circulate it as widely as you can, especially to veterans and their families whom you know.

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The AUKUS Deal: Regional Security in the Indo-Pacific

By Hugh Nikolovski, AWPR Intern 

The recent announcement of a trilateral security partnership between Australia, the United States and the United Kingdom known as AUKUS has wide-reaching implications for regional security in the Indo-Pacific. This agreement has set Australia on a path to potentially acquire nuclear powered submarines, which in total could cost between $120 and $180 billion. The importance of this deal, the issues it will raise, and the responses of states within Australia’s local region were discussed at an event hosted by La Trobe University titled “The AUKUS Deal: Regional Security in the Indo-Pacific”. The event showcased the views of four experts in the field.
 
This first of these speakers was Professor Peter Dean, Director at the Defence and Security Institute at The University of Western Australia. For the Professor, AUKUS represents the most important pivot point in Australia’s strategic policy since the Second World War. He argues that Australia now understands it must make the uncomfortable choice it has avoided for so long, and choose between China, its largest trading partner, or the United States with which it has an alliance. AUKUS therefore, has firmly placed Australia’s choice on the side of the United States and more broadly, those countries which support a free and open Indo-Pacific

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