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Downer's defence on Iraqi WMD is full of holes.



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KEVIN RUDD M.P.

Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs and

MEDIA RELEASE

International Security

DOWNER’S DEFENCE ON IRAQI WMD IS FULL OF HOLES

Foreign Minister Downer’s defence today of his Government’s position on Iraqi weapons of mass destruction is full of holes.

Both the Prime Minister’s and the Foreign Minister’s credibility lies in tatters on the reasons they gave the Australian people for taking Australia to war.

Prior to the Iraq war, Downer claimed:

Look, I don't think there's any doubt about Saddam Hussein having stockpiles of biological and chemical weapons.

There's very grave concern that he's been enhancing those stockpiles in recent years, particularly in the last four years… Lateline: 18 July 2002

But today, in response to the statements by the outgoing Chief UN Weapons Inspector, Mr Downer says that:

Whether we’ll find actual stockpiles or not, I just think it remains to be seen.

So before the war, the Howard Government told the Australian people that these stockpiles existed. The former UN Chief Weapons Inspector yesterday tells us that they didn’t exist at the time we went to war. And now Mr Downer today says that they might not have existed.

The Howard Government’s case for war against Iraq has been discredited at every turn. And now, Government Ministers are beginning to contradict themselves.

This continues to demonstrate that on national security, the Howard Government is fundamentally loose with the truth.

Ends. 26 January 2004.

Media contact: Alister Jordan 0417 605 823