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Monday, 23 June 2003
Page: 17171


Mr BEVIS (2:19 PM) —My question without notice is to the Minister Assisting the Minister for Defence. Does the minister recall saying in this chamber in August 2000: `The purpose of the sanctions was to achieve Iraqi compliance with resolution 687. It is true that Baghdad has not complied fully with each provision of resolution 687, but it has substantially done so. It has complied by eliminating its nuclear weapons capability'? When did the minister advise the Prime Minister of her views that Iraq had complied substantially with UN resolutions, including its elimination of the nuclear weapons capability? Does the minister now acknowledge that the Prime Minister was wrong in claiming, on 4 February, that Iraq's nuclear program was ongoing?


Mrs VALE (Minister for Veterans' Affairs and Minister Assisting the Minister for Defence) —I thank the honourable member for his question. I would have to actually have a look at what I said to the House that particular day. I do not recall, and I do not take your word for that, with respect. Might I just leave it there. I will investigate exactly what was said in the House that day, and I will get back to the member.

Opposition members interjecting


The SPEAKER —Order! This parliament was built on the premise that everyone has the right to be heard. Standing order 55 reinforces that. The minister had the call. She has the right to be heard and to be heard in silence. Has the minister concluded her answer?


Mrs VALE —Just to repeat: I will investigate the answer to that question and I will get back to the honourable member if it is necessary.