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Rudd speaks about Australian intelligence kno -

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(generated from captions) Well, the Opposition Foreign Affairs Spokesman, Kevin Rudd joins me now.

Thanks for being here. Good to be

with you. What do you say is the

import of this intelligence summary

and what it says about the

and what it says about the knowledge of Alia in the intelligence

community, and of kickbacks?

I think the key thing Tony is that

these documents today demonstrate

that we have an Australian PM who

that we have an Australian PM who is a liar. I've never called the PM a

liar before and I use the term

precisely and intentionally. On 12

February just last month he told

February just last month he told the Australian people that all

Australian people that all documents had been provided to the Cole

inquiry. But on 17 February, we

inquiry. But on 17 February, we now discover that suspends were issued

by the Cole inquiry to extract this

intelligence information from the

intelligence community and we now

have some idea why the PM was so

reluctant to provide it in the

reluctant to provide it in the first place. If he didn't know about

place. If he didn't know about these documents then he's not a liar?

I've got to say, if by 12 February,

the PM several years into the

Volcker Inquiry, four months into

the Cole inquiry didn't have

advisers telling him precisely what

was in this intelligence product,

then frankly, I think this is just

unbelievable as a line of defence.

There is no evidence, is there, in

what we've seen from the

intelligence summary that any of

this information was actually

this information was actually passed onto the Government? Within the Government what happens is that

senior ministers including the PM

are provided with intelligence

summaries. Those also working for

the PM in his office and senior in

his department, including the

international division of his

department, are regularly consuming

the intelligence product. And

the intelligence product. And where you have this material saying that

Saddam Hussein as early as

intelligence reports of early 2000,

was using and abusing the

Oil-for-Food Program, using a

Jordanian trucking company

intermediary and at the same time,

the Howard Government is getting

reports from the United Nations in

New York accusing the AWB of doing

exactly the same thing, it beggars

belief that nobody joined these

dots. Well Mr Downer told us as

you've seen, that the Government -

and by that he meant not only

ministers but public servants -

ministers but public servants - knew nothing about Alia until 2004, the

beginning of the Volcker Inquiry.

Does this throw any doubt on that?

Well this is the second import of

the documents which have been

dropped in the Cole inquiry today.

Documents which had to be extracted

from the Howard Government by

subpoena. We've established I

subpoena. We've established I think through this that the PM has lied.

The Foreign Minister on this

program, however, made an

extraordinary claim that knowledge

of Alia didn't happen until some

time in 2004/2005. But now we know

from these intelligence reports

from these intelligence reports that within the Government the

intelligence community had advice

intelligence community had advice of the existence of Alia as early as

1998 and further, as your report

demonstrated earlier tonight in

demonstrated earlier tonight in this program, that we also had officials

within Mr Downer's department

recalling the name Alia in 2000 and

2001. Mr Downer's statement to

program only a month or so ago was 2001. Mr Downer's statement to your

simply not true. Now ONA is the

responsible for assessing the simply not true. Now ONA is the body

intelligence coming from the

agencies. There's no evidence intelligence coming from the various

exactly as to what ONA has done.

But I understand there are some

affidavits from ONA. Are they

saying they passed this information

on, or didn't pass this information

on? What the affidavits say insofar

as I've read them, is that they

didn't regard this material as

sufficiently important to construct

a formal intelligence assessment

the Government. That of itself a formal intelligence assessment for

doesn't mean that persons within

Government didn't read this doesn't mean that persons within the

material. I've got to say in terms

of that excuse, that no

assessment was prepared. Remember of that excuse, that no intelligence

when this Government took Australia

to war in Iraq we now know from an

inquiry conducted back then that no

intelligence assessment was

for the Government prior to taking intelligence assessment was prepared

that extraordinary decision. And

we're now supposed to believe that

somehow the Government is

from any responsibility at all for somehow the Government is exonerated

this $300 million wheat for weapons

scandal, because in this statutory

declaration by ONA they say that a

formal assessment may not have been

prepared. But it does appear that

the intelligence community

to this summary is also saying they the intelligence community according

didn't believe that AWB was part of

the kickback scheme that they had

identified? What you have in the

material prior to the Iraq war is a

series of reports which point to

what Saddam Hussein was up to with the Oil-for-Food Program, including

using a Jordanian intermediary

company. In fact , the report

you've just pointed to didn't come

until after the war. But the key

thing is this, on the one hand you

have a government receiving these

intelligence reports, public

servants receiving these reports,

including others within the

Government as well. And at the

time, they are getting warnings Government as well. And at the same

the United Nations in New York time, they are getting warnings from

saying that the Abi name is

in precisely this type of activity saying that the Abi name is involved

and the Howard Government's

response, in gross negligence is to

dismiss each one of these concerns

and warnings. Quick final question,

we're nearly out of time. Do you

understand given the nature of the

evidence clearly before him, why

Commissioner Cole has not sought

powers to interview in his Commissioner Cole has not sought the

commission ministers of the State?

Commissioner Cole within his terms

of reference has his energies

pointed almost exclusively in the

direction of the AWB and other

companies. Yes, but he doesn't have

to, he can change that by asking

Government for extra powers. Why to, he can change that by asking the

you think he hasn't asked to speak Government for extra powers. Why do

to ministers? My understanding is

that the Commissioner's belief in

these matters is that he can seek

expansion of his terms of reference

insofar as they relate to his

current inquiries into the AWB

itself. If there was to be a

considerable widening of his terms

of reference to specifically

ministers and to make findings of reference to specifically involve

whether ministers had acted ministers and to make findings about

within Australian international law, whether ministers had acted properly

that would be a major expansion in

his terms of reference and

Commissioner Cole has already said

in black and white, that is a

for the executive government not in black and white, that is a matter