- 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
- Mr Quick was also against a United Nations-endorsed attack
- "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
- 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,"
- 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
- "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."
- http://dailytelegraph.com.au report