PM is offering uncritical support for Donald Trump’s dangerous strategy and in doing so he’s making us all less safe, putting a target on each Australian’s

On Friday the Prime Minister of this country backed in an unhinged, dangerous, paranoid President, Donald Trump, into a conflict that could potentially end life on earth as we know it. We learnt earlier this year that, during that infamous phone call, Mr Turnbull said to President Trump: ‘You can count me in. I’ll be there again and again.’ Now we know what he meant. He meant blind support for even the most dangerous and foolhardy of ideas—a military solution to the problem of North Korea. He meant that he would back in a man who has in the last week said that North Korea would face ‘fire and fury like the world has never seen’ and that military solutions are now fully in place, ‘locked and loaded’. Where other sane, rational world leaders urge restraint and call for diplomatic solutions, our Prime Minister is offering uncritical support for Donald Trump’s dangerous strategy and in doing so he’s making us all less safe, putting a target on each Australian’s back and increasing the possibility of the unpredictable Kim Jong-un targeting people right across the world, including Australians.

As we teeter on the precipice of what is potentially the first war started on Twitter, let us debate two things. Firstly, our involvement with the ANZUS treaty and our relationship with the US. It is crystal clear now that Australia must rip up the ANZUS treaty and renegotiate our relationship with the US. This is a relationship that is making us less safe, not more safe. It is a relationship that, indeed, endangers humanity on earth.

We also need to debate who should be in power to send Australian men and women to war. We’re one of the few remaining democracies now on earth that can legally deploy defence forces, committing the lives of Australian men and women, into conflict without any debate in this parliament. In Australia we leave that decision to the executive alone. We know that desperate governments do desperate things.

It is deeply worrying that the decision to commit Australia to war could be left to Malcolm Turnbull and his mates. I mean, Prime Minister Turnbull can’t even stand up to the homophobic bullies in his own party, let alone to this dangerous strongman. How deeply ironic that we have a government refusing to legislate for marriage equality without resorting to a needless postal poll, yet it can decide to send men and women to war, to put their lives on the line, without so much as even a parliamentary debate.

The Defence Legislation Amendment (Parliamentary Approval of Overseas Service) Bill 2015 has spent decades languishing in plain sight while Liberal and Labor prime ministers alike reserve this power to themselves. They have plunged Australia into a tragic series of overseas expeditionary wars that have nothing to do with the defence of Australia or, indeed, our collective security. It is not often I agree with former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, but this morning he was spot-on when he said that the last thing Australia should be doing is handing a blank cheque to the US with Donald Trump as their President.

It’s not just the Greens, of course, who are urging for this parliament to debate and enact this bill. We have had the former Chief of Army Peter Leahy urging the Prime Minister to consult parliament. The former Secretary of the Department of Defence Paul Barratt for years has been championing the call for war powers reform. There are many eminent Australians who back this. The rhetoric that we hear each morning from the United States, as we listen to the views of this President, may perhaps be deeply disturbing. We now have an opportunity to reconsider our views. I call on this chamber to set some time apart today to debate and pass this bill.

Chamber Senate on 14/08/2017 Item BUSINESS – Consideration of Legislation Speaker: Di Natale, Sen Richard Parliment of Australia Transcript used for News Reporting