OZ MP Risks Expulsion Over
Opposition To Bush's War


Opposition backbencher Harry Quick has said he would risk expulsion from his party and cross the floor if Labor agreed to support a strike against Iraq.
Mr Quick, a Labor MP from Tasmania, said he had received widespread support from the community for his stand.
"I've had dozens and dozens of emails and phone calls from parents saying we don't want to send our kids, keep up the good work," he said.
Asked if he was prepared to be expelled over the issue, Mr Quick said: "If we support a pre-emptive strike against Iraq, yes I am."
Mr Quick was also against a United Nations-endorsed attack on Iraq.
"I'm totally against the war, it's a US-manufactured war and I don't support it in any shape or form," he said.
Mr Quick said dozens of his parliamentary colleagues supported his position.
The Labor Caucus is meeting this morning to finalise its position on Australia's involvement in any strike against Iraq.
Opposition Leader Simon Crean yesterday ruled out a conscience vote on the issue, saying Labor would vote as one.
His decision comes despite calls from some MPs for Labor to allow a conscience vote.
Other Labor MPs downplayed suggestions of division within the party.
Labor backbencher Dick Adams said while some MPs were opposed to war, there had been a full debate on the issue.
"The idea of having a conscience vote on Iraq is not on, I don't think that will be expected," he said.
Mr Adams said anyone voting against the party position would face the consequences of their actions, namely expulsion.
Opposition frontbencher Anthony Albanese said MPs joined the Labor Party to follow the party position.
"If I wanted to (have a conscience vote and) be an independent, I would come here as the independent member for Grayndler," he said.
Labor frontbencher Joel Fitzgibbon said it was important that Labor voted as one on the issue of Iraq.
"There's not much point in having a major political party if they're not going to be making decisions in the interest of the Australian people," he said.
Opposition environment spokesman Kelvin Thompson said he was confident the Labor caucus would be able to make the correct judgement about Iraq.
"The thing about a conscience vote is that it suggests that we can't continue to get it right," he said.
Labor backbencher Duncan Kerr said the prospect of military action against Iraq was an issue of great concern.
"It's probably the most important issue I've been a member of parliament considering," Mr Kerr told reporters.
"I think we should approach any vote that occurs on this with the utmost seriousness." report


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