Palestinian refugees in Syria, in 2008.
Palestinian refugees in Syria, in 2008.

Elliot backs ADF operations in Syrian airspace

MP Justine Elliot supports ADF operations across the Iraqi border in Syrian airspace.

She has called on the Tony Abbott government to confirm that force will only be used for defence.

Mrs Elliot said she supported Australian Defence Force assets to be used to prevent cross border attacks on Iraq or to defend attack on Australian personnel, so long as the defence was in proportion to that threat. 

"The Government must provide assurance that an effective combat search and rescue capability will be in place to meet the risks evident for any RAAF personnel downed in hostile territory,' Mrs Elliot said.

"This assurance should precede any ADF operations in Syrian airspace."

Mrs Elliot said the Government's overall approach must include a substantial commitment to address the deepening humanitarian crisis in the Middle East.

"Labor welcomes the Government's announcement of an additional 12 000 humanitarian refugee places to assist people affected by the crisis in Syria. 

"Labor also welcomes the announcement of $44 million in additional humanitarian relief funding for the crisis in Syria, but we call on the Government to match Labor's proposal of $100 million in additional funding given the enormous need.

"Labor has upheld our bipartisan, principled approach to the serious matters of national security and military deployment throughout Australia's involvement in the defence of Iraq. "

Mrs Elliot said Labor believed Australia has a role to play in helping the government of Iraq.

"Labor and the Coalition have both previously agreed that the Australian Defence Force's contribution to the international effort to combat the Daesh threat in Iraq, should be restricted to Iraq only.

"The Australian Government now proposes that in order to protect the people of Iraq from Daesh, RAAF aircraft should have the option to operate in Syrian air space.

"Labor has received advice that Iraq has a clear right to defend itself against cross border attacks given the Syrian Government is unable or unwilling to prevent such attacks by Daesh.

"Iraq also has the right to request assistance from other nations under the United Nation's principle of collective self-defence, and has done so."

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