MPs from outside the two major parties are leading the call to bring Australian troops home from Afghanistan.
During their input to the Afghanistan debate, Independent Andrew Wilkie and Greens Adam Bandt were critical of Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s commitment to the war.
Emily Verdouw reports.
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Andrew Wilkie is one of the Parliament’s most vocal critics of our involvement in Afghanistan.
Today he made an emotional plea to bring troops home.
Andrew Wilkie, Independent MP: “I believe we must bring our troops home as soon as possible, and when I say as soon as possible, I envisage a withdrawal timeline carefully planned by military professionals, not by politicians.”
In his address, the Tasmanian criticised Prime Minister Gillard’s admission to staying beyond 2014.
Andrew Wilkie, Independent MP: “If it was up to me, I’d be very concerned with any military plan that still had us fighting in Afghanistan in ten months time, let alone in ten years time.”
He has the support of Greens MP Adam Bandt who questioned the possibility of success in the region.
Adam Bandt, Greens MP: “It is now clear that the war in Afghanistan cannot be won, however you measure victory.”
Mr Bandt is particularly critical of the Government’s reasons for involvement.
Adam Bandt, Greens MP: “It is also now clear the main reason we are there is not to defend democracy or human rights, but simply because the United States has asked us to go and wants us to remain.”
The debate began yesterday with the Prime Minister’s pledge to remain in a supporting role for the next ten years.
Julia Gillard, Prime Minister: “Our highest duty is to make wise decisions about war.”
Opposition leader Tony Abbott also vowed to stay, but with a focus on success.
Tony Abbott, Opposition Leader: “The best exit strategy is to win.”
The debate will continue for the next two weeks.
Emily Verdouw, QUT News.