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Wednesday, 3 December 2003
Page: 23631

Mr LATHAM (Leader of the Opposition) (3:18 PM) —Mr Speaker, I wish to make a personal explanation.

The SPEAKER —Does the honourable member claim to have been misrepresented?


The SPEAKER —Please proceed.

Mr LATHAM —In question time the Prime Minister selectively quoted from my interview with Neil Mitchell this morning. On six occasions Mr Mitchell asked me about comments I made prior to the Iraq war concerning President Bush—to whom the Prime Minister was pleased to personally introduce me just a few weeks ago. I repeatedly gave the same answer. To quote one example, I said, `That description was in the context of the war in Iraq.' To give another example, I said, `It was right in the context and one of the great things about our democracy is that you can criticise policy and policy makers.'

Mr Mitchell then came back to the matter a seventh time and ended his question by saying, `You said today that you do not back away from that,' to which I replied, `That is right,' confirming my answers today and the comments in their proper context. Just like the Minister for Foreign Affairs yesterday, the Prime Minister is plain wrong.