We recently received a reply to our 16 May letter to the Attorney-General, written on his behalf by his Chief of Staff, Mr Paul O’Sullivan.
The content of the two substantive paragraphs is highly contestable and we will provide our response in a later post.
For now, here is the text of Mr O’Sullivan’s letter:
MC 14/09769 18 June 2014
Mr Paul Barratt
Iraq War Inquiry Group
PO Box 2228
MALVERN EAST VIC 3145
Dear Mr Paul Barratt
Thank you for your letter of 16 May 2014 to the Attorney-General, Senator the Hon George Brandis QC, on matters concerning Australia’s involvement in the Iraq war. The Attorney-General has asked me to respond on his behalf.
The legal basis for Australia’s participation in the armed conflict in Iraq is a matter of public record. Legal advice on this question was provided to the previous Australian Government by the Attorney-General’s Department and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and was tabled in Parliament on 18 March 2003. That advice concludes that Australia’s involvement in the Iraq War was consistent with Australia’s obligations under international law, and the legal basis for this action was the authority to use force provided by relevant resolutions of the United Nations Security Council.
As concerns your suggestion that an independent inquiry is needed to examine Australia’s decision to deploy troops to Iraq, I refer you to the response from the Minister for Defence dated 23 April 2014 to correspondence previously received from your organisation. In particular, the Minister for Defence noted that the decision to send the Australian Defence Force to Iraq has already been examined by Parliamentary inquiries and that no further review or inquiry into Australia’s military commitment to the war is required.
Thank you for bringing your concerns to the Attorney-General’s attention.
Chief of Staff