The federal government has warned the international military intervention in Libya will be complex and difficult.
US and British forces have fired a barrage of Tomahawk cruise missiles against Muammar Gaddafi’s air defences in the first action to enforce last week’s United Nations resolution authorising intervention.
Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd on Sunday said this was the first phase in what would be a “multi-phase” operation to protect Libyan rebels from strongman Muammar Gaddafi.
“This is a necessary and moral course of action against an individual who is a brutal, bloody dictator,” Mr Rudd told the Ten Network.
The intervention would be dangerous for coalition forces, he said.
“This is no walk in the park,” Mr Rudd said.
“This is a very difficult and complex military operation.”
Asked if the intervention would ultimately seek regime change in Libya, Mr Rudd said: “This is going to be a step-by-step operation and I think it’s very important not to get ahead of ourselves.”
Mr Rudd said Australia was boosting its support for refugees massing on Libya’s borders to $15 million.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard said it was clear Gaddafi intended to reap more violence against his own people.
“This is about a broad range of military actions to try and protect the Libyan people,” she told Sky News.
Mr Rudd said the government was also closely monitoring events in Bahrain and Yemen, where security forces are clashing with anti-government protesters.
“This is a dynamic and unfolding situation,” he said.
Mr Rudd’s advocacy for military intervention in Libya won praise from opposition foreign affairs spokeswoman Julia Bishop.
“Kevin Rudd has been consistent throughout,” Ms Bishop told the Nine Network.