Open main menu

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.

Opposition leader, Kim Beazley, and Shadow Foreign Affairs minister Kevin Rudd asked all of the Opposition's questions during Question Time and focused solely on the Oil-for-Food program.

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.

Sources

This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.
This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.
  • Australian House of Representatives Hansard (pdf), February 7, 2006.