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Mr Rudd, Volcker and lies.

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23 March 2006

Mr Rudd, Volcker and Lies

Claims by Mr Rudd that the Government did not fully cooperate with the Volcker Inquiry are totally false.

In November 2004, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade proposed and I agreed to provide unclassified material and written submissions from officials to the Volcker Inquiry. The Department did not believe we should provide classified material as this would be accessible to foreign interests and be insufficiently protected in terms of Australia’s national security interests.

Subsequently, Mr Volcker told Australia’s Ambassador to the UN John Dauth on 7 February 2005 that he wanted more information. The Department recommended to me in a Ministerial Submission on 9 February 2005 and I agreed on 10 February to provide classified information and make officials available for interviews on the basis that this information would be sufficiently protected.

On 18 February, a Memorandum of Understanding on the protection of classified material was concluded with the UN.

Between 22 February and 2 March, UN officials came to Australia and had access to relevant classified material and interviewed relevant Australian officials.

The Australian government fully cooperated with Mr Volcker and consistently urged AWB Ltd to do the same.

Media contact: Chris Kenny (Ministerial) 0419 206 890

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