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Burke - the special deals go on

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John Hewson Leader of the Opposition M e d i a R e l e a s e

86/91 12 April 1991


Senator Evans's announcement today about the "paid special leave" arrangements for Ambassador Burke is an attempt to divert attention from the Federal Government's connection with WA Inc. But it won't do the job because Brian Burke remains Ambassador to Ireland and the Holy See.

The announcement today shows that the Prime Minister and Senator Evans lack the courage to do what is required: to stand Burke down.

It is another example of Labor's special relationship with special "mates".

Serious allegations have been made in a Royal Commission about Ambassador Burke's conduct as Premier of Western Australia.

- Why should he receive "paid special leave" from the

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade while he prepares for, and gives, evidence in his defence?

- Why should the Minister indicate that he will consider

giving an extension of these "paid special leave"

arrangements " in the event that Mr Burke was required to stay in Australia longer than the presently envisaged three week period"?

Senator Evans's offer to consider indefinite special paid leave for Mr Burke is a clear inducement to him to stand down. But the Foreign Minister lacks the courage to do what is really

appropriate - to stand Mr Burke down now.

The Prime Minister and Senator Evans are both displaying a deplorable lack of leadership and responsibility in not standing down Mr Burke from his Ambassadorial duties.

As long as they remain prepared to deal only with the cosmetics of this issue, and not the issue itself, their weakness will do further damage to our international standing and will even further erode the low morale within Senator Evans's Department.

For further information - 06/277 4022 j COMMONWEALTH