Supplied image obtained Wednesday, Sept. 24, 2014 of A Royal Australian Air Force airman marshals a RAAF F/A-18F Super Hornet aircraft into a hanger in the Middle East. The Australian Defence Force Air Task Group (ATG) has arrived at Australia’s main support base in the Middle East.
Supplied image obtained Wednesday, Sept. 24, 2014 of A Royal Australian Air Force airman marshals a RAAF F/A-18F Super Hornet aircraft into a hanger in the Middle East. The Australian Defence Force Air Task Group (ATG) has arrived at Australia’s main support base in the Middle East. AAP Image -ADF, Max Bree

Australia on the verge of airstrikes against ISIS

AUSTRALIA is on the brink of airstrikes against Islamic insurgents in Iraq, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop says.

Ms Bishop said the legal paperwork allowing the country to take action should be completed, and agreed on by Baghdad, in days.

"In Iraq we need to have a legal framework," Ms Bishop told the ABC's Insiders program on Sunday.

"We want to ensure that we can get the legal framework in place.

"I think it would be a question of days.

"That's why (Defence Minister) David Johnston was in Baghdad, to meet with the new Iraqi government to assure them that we were expecting them to be an inclusive government, that they had a role to play in ensuring that they were representative of the various factions and tribes and groups within Iraq because, of course, that was one of the problems for the previous government."

Ms Bishop said the Federal Government's national security committee and the cabinet would meet to talk about Iraq before the week ends.

She also said action in Syria was a probability.

However, she said a different approach was needed, particularly as Australia does not recognise Syria's government.

"Should there be a request in relation to Syria, well we would consider it, we would also consider the legal framework that the US is relying upon in order to go into Syria, but we would make our own judgment about that," Ms Bishop said.

"It would have to be a completely different discussion within the national security committee, within cabinet and presumably with the opposition."

Australia should be taking action in Iraq and Syria, Labor Justice Spokesman David Feeney told Sky News on Sunday

"As long as Australian forces and operations are confined to Iraq then that is an appropriate place for us to be," Mr Feeney said.

"We are obviously in Iraq at the invitation of the government of Iraq and there is no question about the legitimacy of that government.

"Syria is a very different kettle of fish."

Eight Australian jets and other aircraft and about 600 defence personnel are in the Middle East.

- APN NEWSDESK



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