The British Chilcot Inquiry Essay

1194 Words Sep 15th, 2016 5 Pages
Following the publishment of the British Chilcot Inquiry, there has been much debate as to the validity of former Prime Minister John Howard’s decision on March 18 2003, to commit troops to Iraq without parliamentary approval. Although the Constitution vests the exercise of War Prerogatives in the Governor-General, in practice this power is subject to a variety of factors. The position of the Commonwealth Parliament has stood that “since Federation neither the Australian Constitution nor defence legislation has required the government to gain parliamentary approval to deploy forces overseas. Nor in the rare cases that it has occurred, has the government had to consult parliament in its decision to declare war.” Comparatively, the United States (US) and United Kingdom (UK) have distinctly different approaches, both of which will be explored in this paper. In recent times, calls have been made to mandate parliamentary veto power inclusive of those made by The Greens and independent MP Andrew Wilkie. In doing so, perhaps the equilibrium of military efficiency and democratic legitimacy can be achieved.
Parliamentary authorisation or rather, the lack thereof, has been eminently non-existent in Australia’s past military involvement. Following the declaration of the First World War on accord of Austria-Hungary (28 July, 1914), Britain, following debate with parliament, declared war. As such, this gave rise to Australia’s involvement in WWI as legally under the British Empire, if…

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