PLIBERSEK, Tanya. Leading Australian Labour MP protests huge Iraqi infant deaths under Sanctions
Tanya Plibersek is presently the Deputy Leader of the Australian Labor Party (ALP) that is the Opposition Federally in Australia.
To my knowledge Tanya Plibersek is one of only 2 members of the Australian House of Representatives who have raised the matter of how many people we have killed in Iraq (the other being Kelvin Thomson). Thus in 2002 Tanya Plibersek stated in Federal Parliament: “I do not support an attack on Iraq. I particularly do not support a pre-emptive first strike. Nor do I support any action that is initiated by the US alone rather than being sanctioned by the United Nations. I welcome Iraq's agreement today to allow unconditional access to United Nations weapons inspectors…
UN figures from 2001 state that 60 per cent of the population have no regular access to clean water. Malnutrition was and is chronic. Before the war, the gross national product of Iraq was $US3,000 a year per capita; now it is $US500 a year per capita, making Iraq one of the poorest nations on earth. In 2000, Columbia University Professor Richard Garfield estimated that there were 300,000 excess deaths of children under the age of five since the Gulf War. In 1997, UNICEF reported that 4,500 children under the age of five were dying every month from hunger and disease. The food for oil deal to ease sanctions improved that situation slightly. My concern for Iraqi civilians is the first reason I have for opposing armed conflict in the area. The second reason is I believe that, in this matter as in most others, the US response is governed by self-interest and not by universal principles. This leads to hypocrisy” (Tanya Plibersek, Speech to the House of Representatives, 17 September 2002, Hansard: http://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/genpdf/chamber/hansardr/2002-09-17/0075/hansard_frag.pdf;fileType=application%2Fpdf ).