War and democracy – who decides?

Topic Selected: War and Conflict

General Article icon Type: General Article

War and democracy – who decides?

John Keane, University of Sydney

In March 2003, the Howard government involved Australia in an illegal military invasion of Iraq. The consequences of that war continue to be devastating for the people of Iraq and the wider Middle East. The prime minister was able to opt for invasion because in Australia the sovereign power to take the gravest decision, the commitment of the Australian Defence Force to international armed conflict, rests with the executive – in practice, often the PM alone – rather than with parliament.

Since 2014, further military deployments have taken place in Iraq. The bombing of Syria conti

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