The Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade (the Committee) commenced its review of how Australia makes decisions to send service personnel into international armed conflict in September 2022.
The Committee held only one public hearing in Canberra and received a modest 113 public submissions. Its report was tabled in the Federal parliament on March 31, 2023.
Australians for War Powers Reform (AWPR) which has championed genuine reform of war powers for many years, declared the outcome of the Committee’s review disappointing. While the Labor dominated Committee recommended some changes by promising better transparency and accountability, AWPR criticised the report for refusing to adopt a fully democratic system where MPs are able to vote before Australia joins an overseas war.
Compared to many European parliamentary democracies, Australia can still be classified as having weak powers related to parliamentary action required for the deployment of military force. Refer to the typology of European parliamentary war powers here.
In sweltering conditions, around 320 community members packed the Marrickville Town Hall on Sunday 19th March, to hear a number of speakers discuss the AUKUS (Australia, UK and US) security pact and the current trajectory of Australia’s foreign and defence policies.