It’s now official Australian fighter jets will carry out combat missions in Iraq.

Federal cabinet sanctioned the move after the Iraqi government formally requested our assistance.

Shelby Waugh reports.


Today’s Cabinet decision means that Australian Special Forces and air force fighter planes will join a raft of other countries already in the US -led coalition fighting Islamic State militants.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott says it’s a critical mission for Australia.

Tony Abbott, Prime Minister: “I think that it was clearly in Australia’s national interest to take on this death cult at home and abroad.”

But Mr Abbott insists it’s a humanitarian mission.

Tony Abbott, Prime Minister: “I want to stress that only Iraq can defeat ISIL. But Iraq shouldn’t be alone.”

Mr Abbott says Australians should be prepared for a long fight against Islamic State.

The Australian Defence Force says up to eight Super Hornets are ready to take part in air strikes.

Mark Binskin, ADF Chief: “The team is well trained. They’re well equipped. They’re well prepared.”

Meanwhile the controversy continues over the move to ban facial coverings in Federal Parliament.

The Prime Minister has requested for Speaker Bronwyn Bishop to back down but Liberal MP George Christensen said it’s not Mr Abbott’s decision to make.

George Christensen, LNP MP: “Both Steven Perry and Bronwyn Bishop aren’t subject to prime ministerial detail or approval.”

While the Prime Minister doesn’t have the power to overrule presiding officers, observers say it’s unlikely parliamentary services will ignore Mr Abbott.

Shelby Waugh, QUT News.