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A genuine offer to set the record straight

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Peter Reith



This brief press release is to inform you that the attached

letter has been sent to the Member for Blaxland, this evening.

This opportunity is offered to the former Treasurer so that he can definitively set the record straight on the infamous meeting at Kirribilli House in November, 1989.

Deception of the people is an extremely serious issue, and cannot be dismissed.

The conflicting versions of the meeting at Kirribilli House from Mr Keating, and Prime Minister Hawke cannot be swept under the carpet as something that is "incidental".

The exclusive interview Mr Keating granted Niki Savva in February 1990 shows that Mr Keating is just as guilty of deceiving the Australian people in relation to the Prime Minister's future as Bob Hawke i s .

Here's a chance to set the record straight, Mr Keating, under the full gaze of the Parliament.


4 JUNE 1991




Deputy Leader of the Opposition

4 Ju n e 1991 BY HAND

Hon Paul Keating MP Member for Blaxland Parliament House CANBERRA ACT 2600

Dear Sir

You will b e aw are that the Opposition today attem pted to su sp en d standing orders to give you an opportunity to explain your conduct in challenging Mr Hawke for th e prime ministership.

The Government voted to stop you speaking and thereby denied you the opportunity to explain your conduct and provide the Parliament with the reasons which motivated your actions.

You were also denied th e opportunity to clarify the differing versions of the events leading to the Kirribilli m eeting a n d to clarify your role in the 1990 election w hen you were quoted in The Melbourne Sun on 7 February 1990 a s saying:

•Had the Prime Minister decided to not s e e the coming Parliament out, the whole of this building (Parliament House) would have known. It would have com e out of th e pores of the Government's skin and it would have been well and truly known."

You are also reported by The Sun a s saying that your objective w as to stay on a s Treasurer to fix Australia's trade and inflation problem s and that:

T h e re's no objective I have that su rp a sse s that objective.1

As you are aware, it is th e practice of the House for the Opposition to b e given an opportunity to raise a m atter of public importance each day after question time.

In th e interests of giving th e public a full explanation of your role, w e are prepared to forego the m atter of public im portance d eb ate tomorrow so a s to give you an opportunity to a d d re ss the House.

I would appreciate your resp o n se to this offer before 10 am tomorrow.

A copy of this letter will b e released to the press.


Parliament House, Canberra, A.C.T. 2600


The Sew, Thursday, February 8, 1990— P g g g 3*

By NIKI SAVVA TH E Prim e Minister. Mr H aw k e, y e s te r d a y d e ­

livered a stinging rebuke to C abinet M inister Sen­ a to r B utton for reviving th e L a b o r le a d e r s h ip

Issue. Mr Hawke accused Senator Button, the Industry and Commerce Minister, of mak­ ing gratuitous and Inaccurate comments about a deal with the Treasurer, Mr Keating, on a leadership handover.

Senator Button had said he suspected the Prime Minister and Mr Keating had done a deal.

He also said it was up to Mr Hawke to say whether or not he would stay the full three years — a commitment the

Prime Minister has made re­ peatedly over recent months and again in Perth yesterday.

Senator rebuked over remarks on leadershii • Senator Button. 1 Mr Hawke.“I've made that cle^Tand despite. .. the gratuJBus and incorrect observation of Senator Button, Mvill serve a full term," he sa Mr Hawke said there was no “secret ageitia". “As I said, I t was a gra­ tu ito u s a n a e rro n e o u s o b s e rv a tio n by S en ato r Button." Mr Hawkd said he had made this cfcar to Senator Button in t n | "quietness of th e C a b i n * room ” on Tuesday. Mr KeatlndValso hosed down rumors of a deal on the

leadership handover. In an exclusive Interview with The Sun yesterday, he said there was no deal.

And he was adamant Mr Hawke would stay in the Job for the hill term.

"Had the Prime Minister decided to not see the coming Parliament out, the whole of this building (Parliament House) would have known," Mr Keating said.

“It would have come out of the pores of the Govern­

ment's skin a id it would have been well ammruly known.” Asked if h a would make any attempt ■ unseat Mr Hawke after tm election. Mr Keating said ■ wanted to stay on as Trftsurer to fix Australia’s ta p e and infla­ tion probler

“There’s no objective I have that su rp assf that object­ ive," he saldi Mr Hawkejf attack was the latest in a long line of rebukes to SenatouButton.

Last y y r, Senator Button agreed y t h an assessment by

the ACTU secretary, Bill Kel- ty, that the Government’s re­ election chances were only SO-SO — and earned another

rap on the knuckles from Mr Hdwk^. The highlighting of the leadership question has de­ lighted the Opposition be­ cause it believes Senator But­ ton’s comments will confirm concerns in the community Mr Keating will succeed Mr Hawke.

Latest Liberal research shows swinging voters In marginal seats expect Mr Hawke will retire next term if he wins, and that Mr Keating is likely to be Prime Minister.

The research apparently shows Mr Keating polarises attitudes, and is generally disliked with people not happy about his manage­ ment of the economy.

The Opposition Leader, Mr Peacock, gave details of some

of the research to a meeting of Shadow Cabinet on Tues­ day. and it will be presented to a fully fledged campaign

meeting in Melbourne today The Liberals’ federal dir­ ector, Tony Eggleton, said the research showed a high percentage of swinging voters had not yet made up their minds on key questions.

The other major factor was the cynicism about politi­ cians and all political parties which had come through in

the research. He said the attitude among a significant number of swinging voters was that they would wait until polling day if necessary.

The indecision will put much greater pressure on party leaders and their elec­ tion campaigns.

• 'No more woge cuts', Poge 4