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Mr CADMAN (Mitchell) (6.23 p.m.) —The main complaint here in the chamber seems to be that we should not be going into conflict now but should be waiting for yet another resolution of the United Nations.

Once more, Saddam Hussein has got it wrong. He should reform, and we will wait for him to reform. What is the history of the request from the UN? What are the words actually used by the United Nations to try to endorse and enforce the views of the nations of the world? It all began in 1990, 13 years ago, with resolution 678. The UN said:

Noting that, despite all efforts by the United Nations, Iraq refuses to comply with its obligation to implement resolution 660 (1990) and the above-mentioned subsequent relevant resolutions, in flagrant contempt of the Security Council ...

The next motion which was moved was resolution 686, which in part stated that Iraq should:

Provide all information and assistance in identifying Iraqi mines, booby traps and other explosives as well as any chemical and biological weapons and material in Kuwait, in areas of Iraq where forces of Member States cooperating with Kuwait pursuant to resolution 678 ... are present temporarily, and in adjacent waters ...

The next time the issue came to the Security Council was on 3 April 1991 with resolution 687, which in part said that the council was:

Conscious also of the statements by Iraq threatening to use weapons in violation of its obligations under the Geneva Protocol for the Prohibition of the Use in War of Asphyxiating, Poisonous or Other Gases, and of Bacteriological Methods of Warfare, signed at Geneva on 17 June 1925, and of its prior use of chemical weapons and affirming that grave consequences would follow any further use by Iraq of such weapons ...

That was back in April 1991. Again, on 5 April 1991 we have the United Nations saying it was:

Gravely concerned by the repression of the Iraqi civilian population in many parts of Iraq, including most recently in Kurdish populated areas, which led to a massive flow of refugees towards and across international frontiers ...

It also said that it:

Condemns the repression of the Iraqi civilian population in many parts of Iraq, including most recently in Kurdish populated areas, the consequences of which threaten international peace and security in the region ...

Again, in resolution 707 of 15 August 1991, the Security Council recalled:

... the letter of 11 April 1991 from the President of the Security Council to the Permanent Representative of Iraq to the United Nations in which he noted that on the basis of Iraq's written agreement to implement fully resolution 687 ... the preconditions for a cease-fire established in paragraph 33 of that resolution had been met,

Taking note with grave concern of the letters dated 26 and 28 June and 4 July 1991 from the Secretary-General to the President of the Security Council, conveying information obtained from the Executive Chairman of the Special Commission and from the high-level mission to Iraq which establishes Iraq's failure to comply with its obligations under resolution 687 ...

Here we have resolution after resolution, year after year, expressed in the strongest terms by the United Nations and the Security Council. The Australian Labor Party seems to deny that that has ever happened. They are focusing on resolution 1441 as if it were just a recent occurrence. Never when they were in government did they draw attention to the situation in Iraq, never did they say that this should be dealt with. From November 1991 and 11 October 1992, years passed—the same requests were all unfulfilled.

Nothing was done by the nations of the world or the United Nations—talk about a toothless tiger—in pursuit of peace. They made the strongest complaints and concluded all of their motions with the statement that the Security Council:

Decides to remain actively seized of the matter.

Actively seized? I have never seen such inactive seizure of any important issue. To think that Saddam Hussein would take seriously these resolutions of the UN, when time and time again they requested he comply, complained when he did not, moved motions of denigration and criticism when he failed to and said that they would follow through with strong actions. It is just an encouragement for further denigration and further ignorance of the UN. In resolution 1115 of 1997, the UN condemns:

... the repeated refusal of the Iraqi authorities to allow access to sites designated by the Special Commission, which constitutes a clear and flagrant violation of the provisions of Security Council resolutions 687 (1991), 707 (1991), 715 (1991) and 1060 (1996) ...

I do not know how many resolutions the Australian Labor Party want the UN to pass. I do not know what action they expect to be taken on this issue, because it seems that tomorrow will be good enough—any time, so long as we do not have to make a decision today. If we do have to make a decision today, we will be governed by somebody pulling the plug in the United Nations. If the French decide to exercise a veto, we cannot be involved. If the Chinese decide to pull the plug and exercise a veto, we will not be involved. That is the policy of the Australian Labor Party. Anybody can make decisions for us, but we will not make decisions ourselves. It seems that the argument being presented by the Australian Labor Party is that we can go through all of these motions but we will never take action. We are captive to the UN veto—and it need only be one country. It may be the United Kingdom or the United States, but one country alone can stop Australia exercising its sovereign right. That is the policy of the Australian Labor Party. We will never do anything that the United Nations does not endorse—that is your policy.

Mr Snowdon —What have you done about the United Nations since you've been in this place, you fool?

Mr CADMAN —This is your policy. Your leader said it today: `We will never go against anything the United Nations does not want us to do.' We are controlled by non-aligned countries in the United Nations. There is potential to be vetoed by France. Let us look at what the French interests may be in Iraq. The French were the first in there to start negotiating on the use of the oil reserves immediately after the Iraqi war. The first negotiations about oil that have been recorded were in May 1992 when Hussein Kamel, Saddam's son-in-law and then minister for industry and oil, and the adviser of Monsieur Jacques Chirac started negotiations. The bodies were not cold, and the French were in there negotiating for their cut of oil. The Iraqis preferred to deal with the Elf company because of its high political connections. It seems that the views expressed by Saddam Hussein to a Lebanese journalist in 1975, when he said that his dealings with France were `the first concrete step towards the production of the Arab atomic weapon', have in fact been sustained by the attitude of the French on this issue. One country will control the Australian Labor Party's policy in these matters.

I conclude by quoting an email from an Australian officer on the front line, one of the last emails from the gulf, which was read today on 3AW. He says:

I'm catching snippets of Australian news up here yet the more I'm exposed to it the less I understand of the politicians. In my view the opposition is committing political suicide with its ill informed and puerile views on many related issues.

He concludes:

I fully endorse Australia' involvement as a key member of the coalition in response to terrorism. The common belief that we are simply jumping blindly into bed with George Bush must be replaced with the understanding that peace is not America's ... (Time expired)

Author: Alan Cadman MP
Source: House Hansard - 18th March 2003
Release Date: 24 Mar 2003


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