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Tuesday, 15 August 2006
Page: 112

Mr Kelvin Thomson asked the Prime Minister, in writing, on 9 May 2006:

Will he explain how Washington State Senator Patty Murray’s 2003 statement urging the Bush Administration to investigate the payment of bribes by AWB to Saddam Hussein’s government which stressed that “US taxpayers have a right to ask if Australia acted improperly in close co-operation with the former government of Saddam Hussein to manipulate wheat sales” can be consistent with his statement that “There were no alarm bells, there was no suggestion, there was no evidence before us that AWB were paying any bribes”.

Mr Howard (Prime Minister) —The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:

The Government acted promptly to establish an open and transparent inquiry into Australian companies named in the United Nations Independent Inquiry Committee final report. The Government has cooperated fully with the Inquiry. It would not be appropriate to answer questions relating to matters before the Inquiry into certain Australian companies in relation to the UN Oil-for-Food Programme while the Inquiry is underway.