Opposition attacks government over involvement in wheat kickbacks as Australian Parliament resumes sitting
Wednesday, February 8, 2006
The Australian Parliament resumed sitting February 7, 2006, with the Australian Labor Party Federal Opposition attacking the Government during Question Time over its involvement and knowledge of illegal kickbacks being paid by AWB Limited to Saddam Hussein.
One item of interest during the session was a statement to the Parliament on March 25, 2003, where the Prime Minister John Howard had said "...the oil for food program has been immorally and shamefully rorted by Saddam Hussein"; questions arose when the Prime Minister first knew of the rorts taking place and what action he took into investigating AWB. The Prime Minister has stated that he "[denies] that the government turned a blind eye" to warnings that he has received and at the time "it was common between the government and the opposition that the AWB was an organisation of total integrity and repute."
Beazley later moved a censure motion against the Prime Minister, the Deputy Prime Minister Mark Vaile, and the Minister for Foreign Affairs Alexander Downer for their "failure" to investigate warnings and their "gross negligence in allowing AWB to provide AU$300 million to the Saddam Regime". The motion failed along party lines.
- Australian House of Representatives Hansard (pdf), February 7, 2006.