Winsome Hall, with co-author Professor George Williams AO, has made a submission to the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade inquiry into international armed conflict decision making.
In Australia and other Westminster democracies around the world, the power to enter an armed conflict is derived from the royal prerogative and is currently exercisable by the executive without control or oversight by parliament. Over the past decades, Westminster countries have engaged in lengthy debate on how they decide to deploy forces into armed conflicts overseas. In the United Kingdom a convention has emerged that such a decision requires, except in emergencies, a prior opportunity for the House of Commons to debate and approve such a deployment. In Canada a similar convention has begun to emerge.
Professor Williams and Winsome argue that Australia should embark on the same path, via legislative reform. In doing so, it should learn from the experience of the United Kingdom by legislating for the reform. A legislative framework, rather than a convention, would provide clarity and certainty to the decision-making process.
Submissions to the inquiry close on 18 November 2022.
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