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Retail therapy: Mr Aaref catches up on a spot of shopping as a reward for the Government's delay in sending him home.



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KEVIN RUDD M.P.

MEDIA RELEASE

Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs

RETAIL THERAPY - MR AAREF CATCHES UP ON A SPOT OF SHOPPING AS A REWARD FOR THE GOVERNMENT’S DELAY IN SENDING HIM HOME

There have been 47 flights from Sydney to Baghdad that he could have been on since Saturday

While Mr Aaref catches up on a spot of shopping at Woden Plaza in Canberra, prior to his eventual expulsion from Australia tomorrow, a quick perusal of international airline schedules shows there has been at least 47 flights from Australia that he could have caught since last Saturday - when John Howard proclaimed Aaref a grave threat to Australia’s national security.

Mr Aaref’s public shopping spree in Canberra today makes more and more of a mockery of the Government’s handling of the Iraqi spy case.

The fact there have been dozens of international flights Aaref could have been on since last Saturday shows the Government has been less than serious in its approach.

If Aaref was a spy threatening our security, he should have been punted within 24-hours. No ifs. No buts. No maybes.

The Government’s handling of the Aaref spy case is looking increasingly irresponsible by the moment.

The reason why tomorrow was chosen as the day Mr Aaref must leave Australia is because it gives John Howard the dramatic backdrop that he wants before delivering his Government’s case for war against Iraq at Thursday’s Press Club lunch.

This Government’s approach to national security appears to be driven by media cycles, spin lines and political massage - rather than dealing robustly with threats that have been identified.

Ends 11 March 2003

Further information: Kevin Rudd, MP 0418 796 931 or Alister Jordan 0417 605 823