« Go back

UK’s Iraq war inquiry: what does it mean for Australia?

Tuesday 12th July 2016 6:00pm AEDT

The UK Government’s Chilcot Inquiry handed down its final report last week, seven years after British prime minister Gordon Brown commissioned Sir John Chilcot and a Committee of Privy Counsellors to consider “the UK’s involvement in Iraq, including the way decisions were made and actions taken, to establish, as accurately as possible, what happened and to identify the lessons that can be learned”. The terms of reference went on to suggest that “those lessons will help ensure that, if we face similar situations in future, the government of the day is best equipped to respond to those situations in the most effective manner in the best interests of the country.”

While the US and the UK both commissioned at least five government inquiries into the Iraq war, Australia had two: the Inquiry of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on ASIO, ASIS and DSD (Jull Committee) and Philip Flood’s Inquiry into Australian Intelligence Agencies. Both inquiries found flaws in the advice provided by Australia’s intelligence agencies: but did they tell the full story?


The three leaders, Bush, Blair and Howard, have argued that they went to war on the basis of inadequate intelligence advice which suggested that Saddam Hussein had stockpiles of WMD and represented a threat to the region and to the US. The Chilcot report provides answers to many questions about the UK’s involvement in the war. Were a similar inquiry to be held in Australia, what might it find?

We are delighted to welcome Judith Betts to discuss these questions.

Judith Betts

Dr Judith Betts teaches in the Department of Government and International Relations at Sydney University and in Public Communication at the University of Technology Sydney.

Her PhD thesis, ‘The Battle of the Narratives: Australian media agendas and the Iraq War’, draws on three bodies of literature: critiques of the media’s role in covering the Iraq war (including US, UK and Australian writings from journalists, academics and the memoirs of former participants); UK, US and Australian government inquiries into the decision to go to war in Iraq and the literature around agenda setting, agenda formation and framing. Dr Betts’s thesis included a content analysis (mapping voices and themes in articles that appeared in The Australian and Sydney Morning Herald) and interviews with selected journalists, editors, public servants, politicians and others who participated in the debate at the time.

Dr Betts’s studies build on a career in the Australian Public Service (Departments of Immigration and Ethnic Affairs, Prime Minister and Cabinet, and Finance and Administration); as a DLO and political adviser to various federal ministers (minister assisting the PM for the Status of Women, minister for Resources and Tourism, later the Industry Minister); as cabinet adviser to the prime minister; and in more recent years in the private sector in government relations, organisational communication and speech writing.


Entry:  AIIA NSW members  $15.00;  Senior/Student members $10.00

Non-members: $25.00;  Student non-members $15.00


For catering purposes, please register online or with nswexec@internationalaffairs.org.au


More Info

Event Details

The Glover Cottages (View Map)

Date / Time
Tuesday 12th July 2016 6:00pm AEDT


44 Available out of 90

Registration Open
Tuesday 14th June 2016 9:00am AEDT

Registration Close
Tuesday 12th July 2016 5:00pm AEDT

Event registration has closed, on Tuesday 12th July 2016 5:00pm AEDT.