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Agence France Presse

Iraq War Has Made Australia Less Safe: Poll

AFP staffwriters

Most Australians believe their government's involvement in the Iraq war has made the country less safe, an opinion poll showed Tuesday.

Just six percent of those polled said they felt more safe, according to the Newspoll survey for GetUp, a political pressure group that claims nearly 190,000 members. 0724 05

Most Australians now believe that Prime Minister John Howard's support for US President George W. Bush's policies had put the country at greater risk, said the Newspoll survey.

The poll of 1,205 people found that 51 percent felt less safe, 39 percent believed involvement in the war had made no difference to the country's safety, six percent felt more safe and four percent were unsure.

"We deserve a plan forward for Iraq that makes the Australian people safer, not less safe. We deserve a plan that makes the Iraqi people better off, not worse off," said GetUp executive director Brett Solomon.

"And most of all, we deserve a thoughtful and reasoned plan of our own, not a stubborn commitment to stick with George Bush and his failed policies."

Former prime minister Malcolm Fraser has urged Australians to join GetUpÂÂ's campaign calling for a rethink of AustraliaÂÂ's military presence in Iraq.

Howard gave Australia's support for the 2003 invasion of Iraq and the nation currently has around 1,575 soldiers engaged in the campaign.

Fraser, a grandee of Howard's Liberal Party, said the time had come to open talks with all key players in Iraq and the Middle East as a whole, or to put pressure on Washington by pulling out Australian troops by the end of the year.

Copyright © 2007 Agence France Presse.

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