Time To Bump Peace Up The Agenda

Australia has been constantly at war for 16 years, by far the longest stretch ever. Being at war has become the normal state of affairs for us. We spend $95 million every day on war and its preparation, even though the 2016 Defence White Paper said that the prospect of another country invading Australia in the foreseeable future is remote.

Our wars receive very little discussion, as if the need for them is self-evident. Our elected representatives are not consulted about proposed deployments of troops, what they are meant to do on our behalf, whether the proposal is even legal, and what the costs (human, environmental, economic, political) might be. There is zero debate in parliament on these things and no vote on them. The lessons from the disastrous 2003 invasion of Iraq, which Australia joined on the decision of one man, PM John Howard, are stark but unheeded.

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