AABCC Press Release 23 February 2005

For immediate release

Troops to Iraq - the act of a heartless Government

Prime Minister Howard's decision to treble Australian troops in Iraq is a heartless act.

"The Government by sending troops to Iraq is obeying the call of the United States not the people of Iraq", said Denis Doherty of the Australian Anti-Bases Campaign today.

"There are no legitimate reasons for sending the troops to Iraq just as there were no weapons of mass destruction. How can Mr. Howard claim that there is an international obligation to send troops to Iraq yet deny obligations to sign the Kyoto protocols?

"The Government is tearing the heart out of disability pensions and other social security benefits.

"The Government claims it cannot find money for education so we have a tertiary sector in crisis.

"Yet the Government without blinking can find a cool $300 million for the deployment of 450 Australian troops to Iraq. This is an act of a heartless Government!"

"By agreeing to protect Japanese troops, the Howard Government is encouraging Japan to break away from its pacifist constitutional restrictions on sending military overseas. The present Government of Japan is keen to become a major military player again in the region and elsewhere.

"The Australian people came out in force on February 16 2003, when Howard first committed troops to Iraq. He can expect similar resistance to this latest heartless decision to commit Australian troops to Iraq.

For more information contact: Denis Doherty, National Coordinator of the Australian Anti-Bases Campaign Coalition (AABCC) 02)9698 2954 (office), or 0418 290 663