House debates

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Questions without Notice


2:31 pm

Photo of Tony AbbottTony Abbott (Warringah, Liberal Party, Prime Minister) Share this | Hansard source

I thank the member for Melbourne for his question. It is a very serious matter and it deserves to be taken seriously by the House. Certainly I take it seriously and the government takes it seriously.

Australian forces have already been deployed, as the Leader of the Opposition and I have acknowledged, as part of the humanitarian relief efforts in northern Iraq, and they stand ready to engage in further humanitarian relief work in northern Iraq. As you know, President Obama, witnessing the atrocities unfolding before our eyes, witnessing what he called a 'potential genocide' of the Yazidi people and others in northern Iraq, has deployed United States forces. Thanks to the air strikes carried out by United States forces, the ISIL advance has for the moment been halted and the siege of Mount Sinjar was lifted. I think the world should be grateful to President Obama for effectively deploying United States forces for this essentially humanitarian purpose.

Australia is a very close and very supportive partner of the United States, as are other countries such as the United Kingdom, France and Canada. Talks are going on between the United States and its close partners on what can best be done to continue to relieve the humanitarian situation in northern Iraq.

I assure the member that this government will not commit forces without the fullest possible consideration, without the consideration of cabinet, without consultation with the opposition. That is the way it always has been and that is the way it always will be.


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